Dental anxiety is something experienced by many people when they visit their local dentist. Conscious sedation treatments are designed to help a patient relax and feel comfortable throughout their visit.
Conscious sedation techniques can help anxious patients get the treatment they need without having to feel overly worried or concerned about the procedure. Not all types of conscious sedation are suitable for all patients, so it’s important to discuss this with Dr. Jorge Rojas during the initial assessment appointment at Monarch Family Dental of Westminster.
What Is Conscious Sedation?
By definition, conscious sedation is a way to relieve dental anxiety with a sedative. When administered, a patient will remain conscious but will become far less aware of what is happening. In some cases, they may have no memory of the procedure. Conscious sedation differs from general anesthesia, and this is usually favored for procedures that are longer and more complex.
What treatment options are available?
There are many options that can help with the management of pain when you receive treatment at Monarch Family Dental of Westminster. Here are some of the most common options:
IV sedation stands for intravenous sedation, and it is a specific type of conscious sedation medication that is injected directly into the bloodstream for quick-acting relaxation and calming effect. This option works well for patients who struggle with dental anxiety or are undergoing a complex or intensive dental treatment.
If you are planning on incorporating IV sedation into your next dental visit, it is important to organize a ride home from the dental office, as it will be unsafe for you to drive until the sedation has completely worn off. IV sedation is very safe, but our team will still monitor you throughout treatment to prevent any potential complications. We recommend having a friend or family member to keep watch on you for several hours after your treatment while the medication wears off.
This is typically delivered via an injection in the gums. It will gently numb the area that is being treated, and it takes a mere matter of minutes to work. Some dentists will use this in isolation or in tandem with another conscious sedation option listed below.
Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
For those of you who have any prior experience with laughing gas, this is typically a blend of nitrous oxide and oxygen that gets delivered via a nosepiece. It is designed to give patients a sense of relaxation and calm. Many patients report a sense of feeling floaty and light, and the recovery is quick. There aren’t any effects of this sedation, and it is particularly effective for those with a mild to moderate level of dental anxiety.
The Benefits of Nitrous Oxide
- It works quickly.
- It is safe.
- It will help you feel relaxed.
- The effect wears off quickly.
- You will remain conscious and responsive throughout.
Oral Conscious Sedation
This is a sedative delivered in liquid or pill form that is ingested. The medication is dispensed at our office so patients can be monitored throughout treatment.
Patients typically start to feel the effects within 45 minutes. It produces a feeling of deep relaxation while still giving you the ability to cooperate and respond. Many patients don’t remember the details of their treatment, and it is recommended that you rest for a period of 24 hours following the procedure so that the sedation can fully wear off.
Frequently Asked Questions
What will conscious sedation feel like?
Every patient will experience slight differences when using conscious sedation. Typically, you can expect to feel relaxed and slightly drowsy. Once the conscious sedation starts to take effect, any stress, negative feelings and anxiety will start to subside. Some patients will fall asleep, but still be awake enough to respond to commands.
It could also be accompanied by a feeling of sluggishness or heaviness, and it might be harder to move or lift your limbs. Some people will respond slower to any questions or stimulus, and others might even start to laugh or smile without reason. This was indeed what gave it the nickname of laughing gas many years ago when it was first used.
Are there any potential side effects of conscious sedation?
Typically, side effects only last for a couple of hours, and they include drowsiness, slower reflexes, memory loss of what occurred during the procedure, headache, nausea or lower blood pressure.
How quickly do you recover from conscious sedation?
Recovering from conscious sedation is usually quick, but you will still need to arrange for someone else to drive you home following the procedure.
You will be asked to take the full day off work and to not undertake any physical activities until all of the side effects have completely worn off.
If you would like to speak with our team at Monarch Family Dental about whether or not conscious sedation is right for you, please contact us today for a discussion about your individual needs.
Our dentist will provide you with detailed instructions on what to expect before your appointment. We invite you to give our dental office a call today for more information and to schedule a consultation with us. Our experienced team is ready to answer any of your questions and provide you with the best dental care possible.