Conscious Sedation Dentistry
Posted by Dr. Alicia Abeyta DDS FAGD on Apr 19 2022, 06:35 AM
Conscious sedation dentistry can help you relax during a dental procedure. Dental anxiety is a real thing and affects both old and young patients. Whether it’s the sound of the drill or a smell that permeates throughout the practice, some people will use any excuse to avoid going to the dentist.
Conscious sedation, also known as procedural sedation, is a light form of anesthesia that doesn’t require artificial respiration. It allows patients with dental anxiety to get the dental care they need in a relaxed setting.
Anesthesia and dentistry
Dentists, like other doctors, have been using anesthetic to make their procedures easier on the patient since the mid 19th century. In the modern day, dentists use a wide range of anesthetic techniques depending on the requirements of a given patient and procedure. Dental anesthesia can be divided into 3 categories:
- Light sedation – this is the level most commonly used in conscious sedation procedures. Under light sedation, the patient remains awake and alert, even capable of carrying on a conversation. While the patient’s vitals are still closely monitored, there is no need for artificial respiration.
- Moderate sedation – under moderate sedation, while the patient will still remain conscious, they may not remember the procedure. They may fall asleep, but can be woken easily. Some conscious sedation goes as deep as moderate, but it is used rarely compared to light sedation.
- Deep sedation – this level of sedation puts the patient into a state of unconsciousness. This type of sedation is not considered conscious sedation, and is generally only used in more in-depth procedures, like dental surgery, or in patients with extreme dental anxiety.
What is used in conscious sedation?
- Nitrous oxide – also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide has a long history of use in dentistry. Inhaled through a mask prior to your procedure, laughing gas eases the patient’s anxiety without impeding their awareness. Another advantage of nitrous oxide is that it wears off very quickly, meaning you can drive yourself to your appointment.
- Oral sedative – another option for managing dental anxiety is the use of an anti-anxiety medication a few hours before the procedure. Suitable for moderate sedation, this option will require someone to drive you to and from your appointment.
Get the dental treatment you need with conscious sedation
If dental anxiety is keeping you from getting the treatment you need, Dr. Abeyta can help. Conscious sedation can help manage dental anxiety, and Dr. Abeyta always uses local anesthetic to complete her procedures without pain. Schedule an appointment today at (505) 293-7611.