Oral conscious sedation helps to reduce discomfort, anxiety, and pain during specific dental procedures. Oral sedation is delivered via medications and, at times, local anesthesia to induce relaxation.
General dentistry is regularly using conscious sedation on anxious patients who panic even during procedures like fillings, routine cleanings, and root canals. Conscious sedation is also beneficial when performing endoscopy and other surgical procedures that are minor to minimize discomfort among the patient and relax them.
Medical professionals often refer to conscious sedation as procedural sedation and analgesia. It has also been called sleep dentistry, twilight sleep, laughing gas, happy gas, and happy air earlier.
Conscious sedation is acknowledged as effective, but debates are still ongoing between medical professionals of its safety and efficacy because it affects the breathing of the patient as well as the heart rate. Learn how sedation dentistry works by reading this blog for more information.
Differences exist between general anesthesia and conscious sedation, and the variances are mentioned below:
Conscious sedation is useful for procedures like dental cleaning, filling cavities, endoscopy, colonoscopy, and minor bone fracture surgery. The patient remains awake during the process and may even recollect some of it. Conscious sedation is delivered through a pill or gas or even a shot in the muscle. Conscious sedation does not act immediately unless it is administered intravenously. Patients can regain control of their mental and physical faculties, quickly allowing them to proceed home soon after the sedation procedure.
General anesthesia is used for major surgeries and upon request, even for minor procedures. The patient is rendered unconscious and will not recollect any part of the process. The medications are administered intravenously and work faster than conscious sedation. Patients need help to proceed home after the procedure because general anesthesia needs hours to wear off.
The steps for delivering conscious sedation can differ according to the procedure you are undergoing. However, you can expect the following in any general dentistry procedure using conscious sedation.
You sit on a dentist’s chair and receive a sedative in the form of a pill, an IV line, or a mask that lets you inhale the sedative.
You wait until the sedative begins to act on you, especially if you have been provided with oral sedatives.
Your dentist begins the procedure after the sedative has taken effect. You may be under sedation for approximately 15 to 30 minutes or several hours if you undergo a complicated process.
If you want to receive conscious sedation, you may have to request it for dental procedures like fillings, crowns placements, and root canals. Usually, dentists are content to work with local anesthesia, which is quite useful in these cases. Some procedures like an endoscopy may include conscious sedation without a request, but as a patient, you can ask for different levels of sedation. If your risks of complications to general anesthesia are higher, sedation dentistry can be used as an alternative.
The effects of sedation can differ between people. Usually, patients feel drowsy and relaxed. They may also experience any negative emotions, stress, and anxiety disappearing after the sedative takes effect.
It is common to feel a tingling sensation throughout your body and particularly your arms, legs, and hands. The feeling may be accompanied by sluggishness, making it challenging for you to move your limbs. You may believe the world around you has slowed down because your reflexes are delayed, and you may respond slowly to physical stimuli or conversation. You may even begin smiling or laughing without apparent reasons.
Recovery from conscious sedation is relatively quick compared to general anesthesia. You may need to stay in the procedure for about an hour or more for your doctor or dentist to monitor your vital signs and ensure they are back to normal.
Having a family member with you or a friend who can drive you back would help you receive conscious sedation. Some effects of the sedation will remain with you for the rest of the day, and it would be helpful if you took a day off work to avoid strenuous physical activity until the side effects of conscious sedation wear off.
Conscious sedation is an excellent option for you if you are anxious about any medical or dental procedure. Conscious sedation is not expensive and leaves you with fewer side effects when compared to general anesthesia. It is an excellent option to overcome dental anxiety and get the treatments you need without fear.