What is oral conscious sedation?
The primary purpose of oral conscious sedation is to decrease pain and discomfort and to help you feel at ease during your dental procedure. This type of sedation is used during many procedures ranging from teeth cleanings to root canals and endoscopes. Patients who have a strong gag reflex, issues with their TMJ (temporomandibular joint), fear of pain or high sensitivity to touch may choose this medication to help the procedure go smoother.
Your dentist will prescribe the appropriate dose of this minimal to moderate form of sedation and provide pre-sedation and post-sedation instructions. You'll need to take a liquid or pill orally, usually about an hour before your dental appointment. You might also need to take a dose the night before the procedure to alleviate anxiety-related insomnia.
During treatment, you'll enter a state of relaxed consciousness. That said, you'll remain responsive and awake, and should not experience any pain.
What is IV sedation?
IV sedation refers to several medications that can be directly administered into the bloodstream through the vein to offer the deepest level of sedation short of general anesthesia.
Will I feel any side effects from sedation dentistry?
During your appointment, drowsiness or grogginess from moderate sedation might cause you to sleep through the procedure. That said, your dental team will be able to wake you with a gentle shake. Similar to many medications, the effects of sedation can vary depending on the person taking it. Typically, patients experience very minor side effects following their appointment. You might notice you have:
Oral Conscious Sedation
- Low blood pressure
- Mild headache
- Sluggish reflexes
- Amnesia (only for the period of time you are sedated)
- Dry mouth
- Nausea or vomiting
- Watery eyes
Both Oral Conscious Sedation & IV Sedation
- Dry mouth
All of these symptoms should disappear within 24 hours of when you take an oral sedative, as the medication exits your system. Remember that not all patients will experience side effects, and the severity of side effects can vary depending on the person.
Are there potential complications with oral conscious sedation or IV sedation?
Oral conscious sedation is relatively safe and side effects are uncommon. Our team will actively monitor your vitals while you are sedated.
Before an oral sedative is prescribed, your dentist will need to know your medical history since certain health issues can preclude you from being able to take advantage of this option due to an increased risk of complications.
If you are obese or have obstructive sleep apnea, you and your dentist might need to consider other options if possible since these two health conditions can pose complications, making oral conscious sedation too high of a risk.
While there are risks with all medical procedures, supervised use of IV sedation (by a trained professional) is relatively safe. The most serious risk of oversedation, which the dental team will manage with consistent monitoring. Patients are not left alone while sedated.
You'll also want to confirm that your dentist has the right qualifications to administer sedation. Our team at North Burnaby Dental Group is trained to safely administer oral conscious sedation and IV sedation.
What can I expect during recovery?
Depending on the type of sedation and level of sedation administered by your dentist, you may need one or several hours to recover from sedation. Your dental team will carefully monitor you during this time to ensure your vitals remain stable as they return 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. We recommend planning ahead for safety purposes — take the day off, do not operate heavy equipment and avoid physical activity while the sedative wears off. These effects should disappear within 24 hours.