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How Do Dentists Use Conscious Sedation?

How Do Dentists Use Conscious Sedation?
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Over the past decade, dentists have started using conscious sedation techniques to

help patients with a low pain threshold or fear of the dentist get over their fear and receive cosmetic or wellness dentistry treatments. Unlike traditional sedation methods, conscious sedation makes use of medication or inhaled gas to put you in a "dream-like" state before undergoing your dental care treatment. Patients who would not have otherwise gone to the dentist have been helped via the conscious sedation treatment to overcome their fears and receive necessary and sometimes cosmetic dental care.

Why Do Patients Use Conscious Sedation?

Conscious sedation has become more popular with patients who suffer from dental phobia or just have a low pain threshold. Typically other relaxation techniques or discussions with their dentist are not found to work and this patient base will as a result avoid seeking out necessary and regular dental wellness treatments. More recently it has become popular with cosmetic dentists for treating patients who wish to have cosmetic procedures accomplished, but want to get past their fear of the dentist in order to have the work done. Many times patients will also refer to conscious sedation as "Twighlight Sleep" since you are not fully unconscious during the procedure, but may not remember everything that occurs.

How Does the Conscious Sedation Procedure Work?

In general, there are three methods used for conscious sedation for patients: oral medications, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), and itraveneous drugs (IV's). When the procedure is used for dentistry, typically either nitrous oxide or oral medications are used to induce the "dream-like" state in the patient. Oral medications have become preferred recently by dentists with patients that have an extreme fear of the dentist. Ultimately, the specific method used to induce conscious sedation will depend on the dentist's preferences and dialogue with the patient.

Side Effects for Conscious Sedation

Conscious sedation does not come without side effects. Some patients have reported suffering from insomnia after experiencing a dental procedure where conscious sedation was used. Others have reported having nightmares about the event, headaches, and sometimes naseua. A lot of times if a dentist has experienced negative side effects with a patient, they may prefer to use an IV or nitrous oxide for procedures that require sedation of the patient in order to minimize the potential post-operation discomfort.

Things to Watch Out For

Some other things that you need to be on the look out for if you plan to undergo conscious sedation are having a competent person available to drive you home and stay with you for several hours as well as what emergency plans your dentist has in place in the event you experience medical difficulty during the procedure. The competent driver is to ensure you get home safely since patient's experience the effects of sedation for several hours after the procedure is complete. The emergency plans are for the case of you becoming fully sedated and losing consciousness due to ingesting too much of the sedation medication. Most dentists will have an emergency plan in place to help you, but it should be a point you verify before undergoing the procedure.

by: William JonesAbout the Author:William Jones is a freelance writer who commonly writes on health related topics for Cosmetic Dentistry. You can read more of his work on conscious sedation on the Cosmetic Dentistry blog.


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How Do Dentists Use Conscious Sedation?