Now that you understand the facts around oral conscious sedation, you might be wondering what's next after your appointment. Our Vancouver dentists share some insights you should be aware of and how you may feel.
What is oral conscious sedation?
The main purpose of oral conscious sedation is to reduce pain and discomfort and to help put you at ease during your dental procedure. Many dental offices use this form of sedation during many procedures ranging from teeth cleanings to endoscopes and root canals. Patients who have a high sensitivity to touch, strong gag reflect, fear of pain or issues with their TMJ (temporomandibular joint) may choose this medication to make the procedure go smoother.
Your dentist will prescribe the correct dose of this minimal to moderate form of sedation. You'll need to take a pill or liquid orally, typically about an hour before your dental appointment. You might need to take a dose before the procedure to alleviate anxiety-related insomnia.
During treatment, you'll be in a state of relaxed consciousness. That said, you'll remain awake and responsive. You should not experience any pain.
Does sedation dentistry have any side effects?
During your appointment, grogginess or drowsiness due to moderate sedation may cause you to sleep through the procedure. That said, it usually just takes a gentle shake to wake patients. Like many medications, the effects of sedation can vary depending on the person taking it. Patients typically experience very minor side effects. After your appointment, you may experience:
- Dry mouth
- Sluggish reflexes
- Mild headache
- Low blood pressure
- Amnesia (only for the period of time you are sedated)
All of these symptoms should vanish within 24 hours of when you take the sedative as the medication exits your system. Keep in mind that not all patients will experience side effects, and the severity of these side effects can vary depending on the person.
Are there potential complications with oral conscious sedation?
Side effects from oral conscious sedation are uncommon and this type of sedation is relatively safe. Our team will actively monitor your vitals while you are sedated.
Before your dentist prescribes an oral sedative, remember to brief them on your medical history as certain health issues will preclude you from being able to use this option due to an increased risk of complications.
If you are obese or have obstructive sleep apnea, you and your dentist may need to look into other options if possible, as these two health conditions can pose complications that mean oral conscious sedation would be too high of a risk.
You'll also want to confirm that your dentist has the right qualifications. Our team at South Granville Dentistry is trained to safely administer oral conscious sedation.
What can I expect during the recovery process?
Depending on the dose and level of sedation your dentist administers, it may take you one or several hours to recover from sedation. Your dental team will carefully monitor you during this period to make sure your vitals remain stable as they get back to their normal state.
Your dentist will let you know whether you'll need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from your appointment for safety purposes. We recommend planning ahead — take the day off, do not operate heavy equipment and avoid physical activity while the sedative is wearing off. These effects should disappear within 24 hours.