How Does Conscious Sedation Work?

Most people don’t fear the prospect of going to the dentist for cleanings or minor procedures. However, some patients have major anxiety over even the smallest of procedures. For those patients, and for patients who need advanced, major treatments performed (including dental implants and some types of periodontal surgery), there is a solution known as conscious sedation.

Conscious sedation can be given to patients who are nervous about a procedure or for a major procedure in which sedation is needed to perform the treatment effectively. If you’re considering or need conscious sedation for your next dental procedure, here are a few things to know:

Levels of Sedation

Dentists use conscious sedation at different levels to provide the right experience for the patient. Minimal sedation occurs when the patient is merely relaxed and awake. Moderate sedation, the level most often referred to when talking about conscious sedation, refers to when patients slur words and most likely don’t remember a significant portion of the procedure. Beyond conscious sedation, dentists can also use deep sedation, which enables the patient to be awoken with a gentle shake if needed, yet still on the edge of consciousness. Dentists may also require general anesthesia, which renders the patient 100% unconscious.

Types of Sedation

In order to achieve sedation, dentists use a variety of tools, including nitrous oxide, known as “laughing gas” and oral sedation given in a pill form. To achieve moderate and major forms of sedation, a dentist may use an IV (intravenous solution) through a vein or deliver a medication to achieve complete sedation.

In order to offer more advanced levels of sedation, dentists should be trained in deep sedation and general anesthesia.

As with any treatment, there’s an extra risk involved with sedation, even though it’s considered generally safe when given by an experienced, trained dentist. For this reason, it’s always important to do your due diligence and ask your dentist plenty of questions to achieve a solid level of comfort before undergoing any level of sedation.

If you have any questions about your dental health or if you would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact our team or make an appointment. Our incredible staff will give you the best dental care possible.

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