Oral Sedation Dentistry

Utilizing oral sedation for dental procedures can be an effective way for patients who suffer from anxiety over dental appointments to ease their fears immediately prior to and during treatment. Oral sedation is a simple form of anti-anxiety medication administered in pill form that may include a benzodiazepine such as Valium, Xanax, or Lorazepam. It is administered 30 minutes to one hour prior to a dental appointment. Oral sedation is a great tool for both patients and dentists during dental procedures.


Anxiety over dental appointments is very common and can even cause patients to avoid routine dental cleanings which only compromises their oral and overall health. Dental health is too important to avoid so if you suffer from dental anxiety, speak with your dentist about receiving oral sedation before an appointment. Dental health is directly related to overall health and not receiving routine cleanings can lead to periodontal disease in patients which can cause a number of more severe problems when left untreated.


Advantages of Oral Sedation

Since oral sedation is a simple pill, it is painless and easy to administer. Your dentist may keep prescription medication on hand in the office or can prescribe a dose for you to have filled at your pharmacy prior to your dental treatment. Oral sedation can greatly relieve tension and anxiety so that patients are able to comfortably receive dental treatment.


Oral sedation keeps the patient awake during treatment so that they are able to communicate with their dentist and respond to instructions when necessary and is incredibly safe, since it is monitored by the FDA.


Patients with dental anxiety may also appreciate the light amnesia that comes along with oral sedatives. This keeps patients from being stressed during their appointment and allows them to go about the rest of their day once their procedure is complete.


Disadvantages of Oral Sedation

Some sedation options allow patients to leave their dental appointment on their own but oral sedation may require the patient to have someone accompany them home after their procedure. It can be unsafe for a patient to try to drive or navigate public transportation on their own until their sedation wears off, so it is best for a friend or family member to pick the patient up and get them home.


The only other real disadvantage to oral sedation is that the dosage is not easily adjusted like it is with nitrous oxide or IV sedation. Oral sedation is taken up to an hour before the appointment to allow the medication to kick in so if you need more, the appointment may be interrupted to allow for a second dose to take effect.


If you suffer from any type of dental anxiety, it is very important to speak with your dentist about your sedation options. Dental anxiety is a common affliction so you should not feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about requesting a form of sedation. If a sedative will help you endure necessary preventative and restorative dental treatment, it is worth the discussion.

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