Oral Sedation Dentistry
Advantages and Disadvantages of Oral Sedation
Pill sedation or oral sedation can be mild to moderate depending on the dosage and is one of the four ways that dentists can help your dental anxiety. IV sedation and nitrous oxide sedation are dispersed by a dental professional at the office during the appointment, but oral sedation for dentistry is taken an hour or two before the appointment. The medication is usually a benzodiazepine like Valium, Halcion, and Xanax which works on your brain to reduce fear and anxiety. You will be conscious after taking the medication but the dentist may determine you need a larger dose for a more moderate sedation. Oral sedation is the most common type of sedation dentistry because your relaxed mood allows the dentist to complete the dental work effectively while you are comfortable. Depending on your dose and how your body reacts to the medication, you may even fall asleep during the appointment but the dentist can easily wake you with a gentle shake, typically.
Advantages of Oral Sedation
- No Needles – If your fear does not start and stop with the dentist and it includes a fear of needles, you will be able to avoid them as well. You will be able to take the medication before the appointment so by the time you are in the dental chair, you will not need to worry about being poked.
- Safe and Easy – The dentist will prescribe you the medication to take before the appointment. If you can swallow a pill easily, then you can enjoy a relaxing experience at the dentist. The prescribed medication is approved and monitored by the FDA. Any chance of side effects is minimized with the thorough oversight.
- Ability to Respond – Even though your relaxation allows you to be more comfortable during your dental procedure, you will be conscious and able to react if prompted by the dentist.
- Amnesia – Most people experience amnesia as a result of using benzodiazepines so you will enjoy the results of your dental appointment without any recollection of the actual procedure.
Disadvantages of Oral Sedation
- Unable to Transport Yourself Independently – As a direct result of the relaxing effect of the medication, you will not be as responsive as you need to be to safely operate a vehicle. Bringing someone with you to the appointment to ensure you arrive to the office safely and return home safely is important when relying on oral sedation.
- Effects Are Not Immediate – Unlike nitrous oxide or intravenous sedation, your body needs to metabolize the medication before it takes effect. You will need to plan ahead and take the medication an hour or so before the appointment to ensure a more relaxing appointment.
- Sedation Levels Are Not Easily Adjusted – Based on your body and the amount of the medication prescribed, you will not know how fast the medication will take effect. Each person is different and the medication will start to work as soon as twenty minutes or longer than an hour.
You do not need to let your fear of the dentist or dental procedures keep you from having a healthy mouth.