How safe is conscious sedation dentistry?

Is conscious sedation a safe option?

Where patients need numerous procedures or have anxiety about dental treatment, conscious sedation may be an option. It is generally considered safe, as long as the dental team are qualified to administer sedatives and the patient is able to provide a full and accurate medical history. The dental surgery will need to follow regulatory and training guidelines. 

Types of conscious sedation

There are several levels of conscious sedation, commonly referred to as minimal, moderate, or deep. In any case, the patient will be conscious throughout the procedure, but will remember less and recover more slowly, when treated with moderate or deep sedation.

Minimal sedation usually involves the patient being given nitrous oxide to help them relax. The effects are not long-lasting, which means the patient may even be able to drive after their dental treatment. Oral sedation, which involves the patient being given a pill to take prior to the procedure, can fall into the minimal or moderate category depending on the dose given. The pill will make the patient drowsy, and they may fall asleep but are usually woken easily with this level of sedation.

If a patient requires moderate sedation, they will be administered a drug through a vein in the arm. Still conscious, the patient will be able to respond to questions but will not remember so much of the procedure. If the dentist prescribes deep sedation, the medication used may render the patient almost unconscious, or they may be given general anesthesia.

Anxiety may be relieved with conscious sedation.Conscious sedation can help to relieve patient anxiety.

Staying safe

If you are considering the possibility of conscious sedation with your dentist, it is important that they know your full medical and sedation history. Make them aware of any medication you are taking, and if there is any chance you could be pregnant. You'll be given instructions on what to do in the days leading up to your sedation and it is important that they are followed. Stop eating and drinking at the appropriate time, do not have alcohol prior to the procedure, and make arrangements for an adult to escort you home and look after you after any moderate or deep sedation. 

If you'd like to discuss your suitability for conscious sedation, or any dental issue that you may be experiencing, book an appointment online or call the City Dentists team on 04 978 4964.