Conscious sedation is the process of relieving the anxiety associated with dental treatment through the provision of safe and effective drugs whilst remaining fully conscious. This results in you, the patient, being more comfortable during dental treatment with the additional benefit of reducing pain.
It is a very safe and effective alternative to a general anaesthetic due to the reduced recovery time and side effects of the stronger drugs used during a general anaesthetic.
Conscious sedation is the perfect choice for patients who are anxious or have phobias of the dentist. Any dental procedure can be carried out under conscious sedation and it can benefit people with a severe gag reflex, anxiety and dental phobia.
The aim of sedation is to:
Minimise recovery time, discomfort and anxiety
Maximise cost effectiveness for you, safety and comfort
Is sedation safe?
The procedure will only ever be carried out by a highly skilled clinician who is very experienced and doesn’t leave your side. Furthermore, the highly advanced equipment used, is constantly monitoring your vital signs such as heart rate, oxygen and blood pressure. The biggest benefit is the recovery time, which is minimal compared to a general anaesthetic.
Who is it recommend for
Those suffering with dental / needle phobia
Fear or anxiety of the dentist
For dental procedures which are likely to prolonged
Where normal local dental anaesthetic has failed
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any risks?
Whilst these will be discussed with you in full in person during a pre-assessment session, you may experience:
bruising at the site of injection
vein irritation which can last for several days
nausea & vomiting
allergic reaction (very rare)
Following the procedure you should rest and relax for the next 24 hours ensuring your escort is available for this period. In addition you should not:
Drive / ride a bicycle
Cook or use electrical equipment
Operate any machinery
Look after children or dependent individuals
Sign any important documents
Use alcohol, sleeping tablets or any recreational drugs
What is the difference between local, local anaesthetic, general anaesthetic and sedation?
Local anaesthetic is the drug administered with a needle into the mouth when you have any dental treatment in order to make the area numb. Many people have a phobia of this, however, this is always provided to ensure that during a dental procedure, no pain is felt, and afterwards there is some pain relief. This is also provided during a general anaesthetic and sedation procedure for the same reason, however, it is given after the general anaesthetic or sedation drugs have been administered.
On the other hand, a general anaesthetic can only be provided in a hospital setting with an anaesthetist. The use of stronger drugs, results in you becoming unconscious with the anaesthetist being in control of your airway with the assistance of machines and monitors. Due to this and the drugs used it is seen as less safer than IV sedation which can be carried out in dental practice setting.
IV Sedation is seen as a less invasive alternative option to a general anaesthetic which is safer and has a shorter recovery time. Once sedated, the local anaesthetic injection can then be given. But by this time you will be calm, relaxed and have a higher pain threshold than normal which will enable this to be a straightforward procedure.
Do I need to fast? – what do I do about eating and drinking?
The following guidelines are usually followed, but will be discussed in more detail at a pre-assessment appointment.
Food – no solid food 6 hours prior to the procedure
Liquid – clear fluids up until 2 hours prior to the procedure
If diabetic, this will be discussed in further detail at your pre-assessment appointment.
Is sedation painful?
One big benefit of sedation is pain control, as the drugs provided increase your pain threshold. This means that things that are normally painful or uncomfortable are not so. In addition, the use of local anaesthetic will further assist in pain management both during and after the procedure. For patients who have a very low pain threshold, additional drugs can also be used to provide an additional pain control measure
What is the recovery time?
Whilst recovery time depends on the type of drugs used, everyone’s individual response to them and the length of sedation the vast majority of people recover within 30-60 minutes. The seditionist will ensure you are fully monitored and recovered before being allowed to go home with a suitable escort.
Is an escort necessary?
Yes, as you will still be recovering from the effects of the sedation. Sedation will not be carried out without a suitable escort available, this is in the interest of your safety. In the event that you do not have an escort, the sedation will be cancelled.
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