Conscious Sedation Drugs: Working Out Dental Anxiety And Stress

Conscious Sedation Drugs: Working Out Dental Anxiety And Stress

Some people experience anxiety and stress when before and during a dental appointment. Dentists use conscious sedation drugs to reduce anxiety, discomfort, and pain during dental procedures. This way, the dentist will not have a problem executing the procedure to the patient. You can also visit a sleep clinic near you to help you address dental sleep disorders.


What are conscious sedation drugs?

These are the medications that the dentist provides their patient to help them relax during the procedure. Previously, they refer to it as sleep dentistry or laughing gas, but now medical professionals refer to it as procedural sedation and analgesia.

Even though conscious sedation is effective, the safety and efficacy are still under study by medical professionals. Conscious sedation may cause side effects on your breathing and heart rate. Dentists must ensure the safety of the patients before using any conscious sedation drugs or anesthesia.

Conscious sedation can be any of the following: (1) Oral Sedatives, (2) Intramuscular, (3) Intravenous, or (4) Inhalation. In this article, we will be discussing oral sedation. Additionally, we will compare it to using general anesthesia.


Oral conscious sedation drugs

Conscious sedation drugs will make you feel comfortable. It will keep you awake throughout the procedure, but you’ll be less aware of it. On the other hand, you may not even remember what happened in the procedure.

Usually, oral conscious sedation drugs apply to procedures that will not take the time of completion. We stated some examples of oral sedatives that your dentist might give you based on your anxiety level.


Common oral sedatives

  • Benzodiazepines: It includes (1) diazepam, (2) lorazepam, (3) triazolam, and (4) midazolam.
  • Non-benzodiazepines: It includes (1) zolpidem, and (2) zaleplon.

Any of these sedatives will directly pass through your gastrointestinal tract. The cost of oral sedatives is minimal compared to other dental sedation methods. Usually, the dentist will request the patient to take the oral sedatives before the dental appointment.

Moving forward, let us break down the advantages and disadvantages of using oral sedatives.


Advantages of oral conscious sedation drugs

  1. The dentist will provide the pill for you. Oral sedation is the easiest type of dental sedation since the patient will only need to swallow the pill. More or less is before the appointment so that the patient will already feel relaxed by the time they arrive at the clinic.
  2. Some individuals fear needles. Using oral sedatives, the pricking of needles will never happen, unlike administering an IV sedation.
  3. It is an excellent option to help the patient stay conscious but only remember little to no details of what they have been through during the procedure.
  4. FDA regulates all of the oral sedatives, so they are safe. Side effects are very minimal and don’t last long.
  5. The patient will remain responsive after taking this type of sedation. They can still follow the instructions of the dentist.


Disadvantages of oral conscious sedation drugs

  1. Oral sedation may not take effect immediately. For this reason, the patient must take an oral sedative in advance.
  2. Every patient has a different level of metabolism. In this case, increasing the sedation level will be a little tricky. It is the result of the oral sedation’s long time before taking effect.
  3. After taking oral sedation, the patient may not be able to drive to the dental clinic. They will need someone to accompany them during their appointment.


Common side effects of oral sedation drugs

  1. Drowsiness
  2. Nausea
  3. Vomiting
  4. Allergic reactions

These after-effects will not last long. However, if it appeared to be uncontrollable, you must contact your dentist and immediately seek medical help.


Using general anesthesia

Under this anesthesia, the patient will be completely unconscious throughout the procedure. General anesthesia is commonly applicable when doing complex dental procedures. Aside from that, dentists might choose this option if the patient is uncooperative or highly phobic.

The patient will not feel any pain, complete muscle relaxation, and will not remember anything about the procedure. This medication can either be through a face mask or IV. Usually, an anesthesiologist is beside the patient to closely monitor the vital signs and anesthesia level needed.

This anesthesia can come in different kinds. The dentist will know what kind is best for your anxiety level.


Advantages of undergoing this anesthesia

  1. Complete elimination of the sensory capacity.
  2. Reduce or eliminate intraoperative recall.
  3. Doctors can easily administer this anesthesia.
  4. This anesthesia is reversible.


Potential disadvantages of this anesthesia

  1. It may cause severe fluctuations in the patient’s physiological parameters.
  2. In rare cases, it might cause malignant hyperthermia.
  3. It requires increased complexity of care.
  4. The cost you might incur is higher.
  5. Effects and complications might occur after the procedure. We have listed some of them below.


Potential side effects of general anesthesia

  1. The patient might experience temporary confusion and memory loss.
  2. Dizziness and imbalances.
  3. Bruising or soreness in the site where they inserted the needle of an IV drip.
  4. Nausea and vomiting are also probable.
  5. The patient may even shiver or feel cold until the anesthesia completely wears out.
  6. A sore throat may also occur due to the breathing tube.

Other after-effects can occur. It would be best that your doctor give you all of the complete details about it. This way, you will also be aware of how you should react to it. You might need after-care instructions as well.



a girl anxious with her dental procedureIn general, oral conscious sedation drugs are excellent options to help patients relieve their anxiety and stress. This relaxation option applies either to medical or dental procedures. However, this should be for minor procedures only. Aside from that, the cost of using oral sedation drugs is cheaper compared to other options.

Since dentists can easily administer this sedation, it would also be advantageous for them to execute the dental procedure quickly. Patients take oral sedation drugs in advance. Oral sedation drugs can provide you the peace of mind and relaxation your body needs for you to undergo dental procedures.

Through these sedation options, anxious people will no longer have to miss their dental appointments. The dentist can now offer opportunities to keep them relaxed and calm throughout the procedure without feeling any pain or discomfort.

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