You now know the facts about oral conscious sedation, but you may now be wondering what's next after your appointment. Our Richmond dentists offer some insight into what you should beware of and how you may feel.
What is oral conscious sedation?
Oral conscious sedation's primary purpose is to lessen pain and discomfort and help you feel at ease during your dental procedure. This form of sedation is used in many dental offices from procedures ranging from teeth cleanings to endoscopes and root canals. Patients who fear pain, or have high sensitivity to touch, strong gag reflex or issues with their TMJ (temporomandibular joint) may opt for this medication to make the procedure go smoother.
Your dentist will prescribe the appropriate dose. This minimal to moderate form of sedation requires the patient to take a liquid or pill orally, usually about an hour prior to your dental appointment. You might need to take a dose before the procedure to help with anxiety-related insomnia.
During treatment, you will enter a state of relaxed consciousness. However, you'll remain awake and responsive. You should not experience any pain.
Are there side effects of sedation dentistry?
During your appointment, you may feel drowsy and groggy enough from moderate sedation to sleep through the procedure. That said, patients can typically be woken with a gentle shake. Similar to many medications, effects of sedation vary from person to person. Patients typically feel very minor side effects. After your appointment, you may experience:
- Low blood pressure
- Amnesia (only for the period of time you are sedated)
- Mild headache
- Dry mouth
- Sluggish reflexes
All of these symptoms should vanish within 24 hours of sedation as the medication leaves your system. Remember that not all patients will experience side effects and the severity of these side effects may vary from person to person.
Are there potential complications with oral conscious sedation?
This type of sedation is relatively safe. It's uncommon to experience complications due to oral conscious sedation. Your vitals will be actively monitored during the time you are sedated.
Remember to let your dentist know about your medical history before an oral sedative is prescribed, as certain health issues will mean this option can't be used to increased risk of complications.
If you have obstructive sleep apnea or are obese, you and your dentist may need to look at other options if possible, as both of these health conditions can pose complications that make oral conscious sedation too high of a risk.
You'll also want to confirm your dentist's qualifications. At Saba Road Dental Center, our team is trained to safely administer oral conscious sedation.
What can I expect during the recovery process?
Depending on the dose that was administered and the level of sedation, it may take one or several hours to recover from sedation. During this time, your dental team will carefully monitor you to ensure your vitals remain stable as they return to their normal state.
Your dentist will let you know if you'll need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from your appointment to ensure your safety. We recommend planning ahead by scheduling a day off, avoiding physical activity or operating heavy equipment while the sedative remains in your system.
Remember that some patients feel groggy, sleepy, sluggish or nauseated throughout the rest of the day as the sedative begins to wear off. However, this should disappear within 24 hours.