What Is Conscious Sedation For Dental Work?

According to the Journal of Dental Hygiene, between 50-80% of American adults suffer from dental anxiety, varying in severity from mild to severe. Over 20% of these anxious patients avoid regular dental visits and between 9-15% avoid it completely. At Vassey Dental Partners, your dental team is committed to your comfort whether you are having a routine cleaning or an oral surgery. Conscious sedation can help patients feel relaxed during their dental work without putting them under general anesthesia. If you suffer from dental anxiety, conscious sedation may be a helpful solution to ensure your comfort. Ultimately, conscious sedation combined with the numbing medication and local anesthesia helps patients feel more relaxed and calm, feeling like procedures last minutes rather than hours. 

What is Conscious Sedation?

Depending on the type, conscious sedation uses either an oral or IV sedative that is administered and titrated to the patient’s needs. IV sedation can be adjusted throughout the procedure, ensuring the patient stays completely comfortable. Sedation relaxes the nervous system, but the patient can still respond verbally throughout the procedure. A patient will have a clear airway and be able to breathe normally while under the effects of sedation. The patient will feel significantly relaxed throughout the procedure, not remembering what has happened or feeling like the procedure passed by quickly. Many patients fall in love with sedation and request it whenever they need future dental procedures. Ultimately, our goal at Vassey Dental Partners is to earn each patient’s trust where they feel completely comfortable even without using sedation in the future. 

Common Reasons to Use Oral Sedation

  • Dental Implant Procedure
  • Wisdom Teeth Extraction
  • The Patient has Anxiety
  • Crown or Bridge Placement
  • Multiple Procedures Being Performed at Once
  • The Patient has Disabilities Preventing Dental Treatment
  • Dental Emergency

Before Undergoing Sedation

Conscious sedation is a safe relaxation option, but there are some health conditions and lifestyle choices that can impact sedation effectiveness. Before scheduling an appointment using sedation, your dentist needs to know your full medical history, including any medical conditions you have as well as any medications or supplements you are taking presently. Alcohol consumption and cigarette use can impact how well sedation works for you, so let Vassey Dental Partners know if you partake in either of these. Even though some patients get sick after general anesthesia, IV or conscious sedation rarely makes anyone feel sick. One of the benefits of IV sedation is that we can adjust the levels of sedation or use a reversal agent if a patient is not feeling well on the sedation.

Preparing for your Appointment

Food and Drink–In most cases, avoiding food and drink for at least 8 hours prior to sedation is recommended. Drinking plenty of water the day before is encouraged because being hydrated is important for sedation.

Work Schedule–You need to let the sedative fully wear off before attempting to return to work. The sedative may wear off in 12 hours, but ask your dentist about when you can return to work for a safe recommendation. You will likely be a little loopy or groggy after being on sedation. 

Ride–You should not drive after undergoing dental sedation. Go ahead and ask a friend or family member to drive you home after your procedure. 

If you are experiencing dental anxiety or facing an uncomfortable procedure, conscious sedation may be a good solution for you. Reach out to Vassey Dental Partners to learn more about our dental sedation options to keep you comfortable!