What Is Conscious Sedation?
Fear of dental work is common and some of our patients at Olympia Hills Family Dental ask, “Can I be put to sleep for my dental work?” Our doctors are trained in the science of dental sedation and will help you be completely relaxed and comfortable during your dental appointment without being asleep. This is known as conscious sedation.
Under conscious sedation, you will still be in control of your breathing and be able to respond to questions. But the goal is to be in a very relaxed state, free of anxiety and fear.
Is Conscious Sedation Safe?
While every dental procedure (yes, even your cleaning) has risks associated with it, conscious sedation is a relatively safe way to perform in-office sedation. The doctors complete a thorough pre-sedation appointment with every patient to determine risk factors and review medical history. It’s important to be fully honest at this appointment so they can provide you with the highest quality and safest sedation possible.
How is Conscious Sedation Administered?
Conscious sedation can be delivered intravenously, orally, and/or nasally. At your pre-sedation appointment, our dentists will help you determine which method is best for you.
What Does Conscious Sedation Feel Like?
The effects of conscious sedation vary from patient to patient. Some describe it as feeling drowsy without being asleep. Others describe it as having their dental anxiety and fear taken away and replaced by a sense of calm. It is not uncommon to experience short-term amnesia while under the influence of conscious sedation.
What Do I Have to Do Before My Sedation Appointment?
There are a few things we ask you to do before your sedation procedure:
- No solid foods or opaque liquids (juice, milk, etc) 6 hours before your procedure and only clear liquids (black coffee, Gatorade, water) up to 2 hours before your procedure.
- Take all your medications as normal unless we direct you otherwise at your pre-sedation appointment.
- Do not take any additional sleeping pills/sedatives without discussing them with your dentist.
- Wear loose clothing that is comfortable and allows easy access to your upper arms. Also, wear flat comfortable shoes to help with walking after the procedure.
What Should I Expect at My Appointment?
Before treatment begins you will be connected to safety machines that will monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, and breathing continuously throughout the procedure.
- If we are starting an IV, we’ll insert it usually in the back of your hand or in the inside of the elbow.
- The sedative will be administered. Most patients have little recall of events after the sedation has been given.
- This procedure is not general anesthesia, which means:
- You will not lose consciousness.
- You will be able to communicate with your doctors.
- You will be able to respond to instructions given to you.
- After treatment, you will be discharged home to a responsible adult. You will need a ride to drive you back home.
How Long Does It Take for Conscious Sedation to Wear Off?
If you are having conscious sedation with your dental procedure, you will need to have a family member or friend who can drive you home and stay with you until the results of the medication wear off. We suggest planning on going home and having a good nap. Most patients report feeling normal within a few hours of the procedure, but the effects can last 18–24 hours.
What are my Restrictions after Receiving Conscious Sedation?
A caretaker will need to stay with you for 24 hours. During this time, you should be careful when walking. Don’t drive, use machinery, cook, drink alcohol, take sleeping tablets/sedatives, or sign legal documents.
Overcome Your Dental Anxiety!
If your dental fear and anxiety are stopping you from getting the help you need, please contact Olympia Hills Family Dental today to learn how we can help.