Sedation dentistry

What is conscious dental sedation?

There are people that aren’t as nervous as others when it comes to dental treatment. Others find it difficult to even enter the dental clinic. If you are nervous, anxious, or afraid of dental treatment then sedation can keep you relaxed. It makes your visits more effortless and much more pleasant.

Dentists who sedate their patients must be trained. For oral and maxillofacial surgeons, it is included in their training at the hospital.

You should talk to your dentist about your anxiety because they may not be aware of your fears. If your dentist does not know that you are anxious then they may not give you any sedation at all.

If you talk to your dentist about your fears then you may be able to feel better. If you do not feel better then you should take sedative medicine. Your dentist may prescribe sedative on the night before the appointment just in case you encounter difficulties going to sleep. If you take a sedative drug on the night prior to your dental treatment then you must let someone else drive you to the dental clinic. You should avoid over-the-counter sleeping aids with alcohol because they may have an adverse reaction with the sedatives.

Several sedatives may be used during your dental treatment. Nitrous oxide, which is also known as laughing gas, may be used prior to the treatment. For about an hour before the dental treatment, you may use Diazepam and other similar drugs. These drugs will not provide pain relief but will only make the target area numb.

  • Anxiolysis is used for very light sedation. It is normally induced with pills or nitrous oxide taken before the dental treatment. It will give you feelings of no worries and in fact, you may not even recall the procedure
  • Conscious sedation is a medium sedation and it is induced with intravenous drugs or nitrous oxide. You will still be able to respond to commands and you will still have gag reflexes
  • Deep sedation is somewhere between conscious and unconscious, bordering more on the unconscious. You will have a partial loss of your gag reflex and you will not be able to respond consistently with commands and stimuli. You may find it difficult to keep your airway open to breathe
  • General anaesthesia makes you unconscious. You will not be able to keep your airway open for breathing and you will not be able to respond to commands. A tube will be placed in your throat to assist in your breathing


If you will be getting nitrous oxide then you must eat lightly prior to and after your appointment. This will prevent nausea. When the dental treatment is over, you will get oxygen for several minutes in order to clear the nitrous oxide from your body.

Children will get antihistamine-type sedatives like hydroxyzine. These sedatives can cause xerostomia or dry mouth. Children will be encouraged to drink in order to make their throats and their mouth feel much better. Those taking any psychiatric medications must talk to their dentist before taking any sedatives.