With oral conscious sedation, the patient usually takes a pill about an hour before treatment. This allows the patient to become calm and relaxed without any nervousness or reaction to sounds and activities around them that would otherwise make them feel uncomfortable or stressed. The effects can last for up to four hours or more. At times additional medications may be given to prolong or deepen the level of conscious sedation. The major effects are total relaxation and little or no memory of the treatment session.
Throughout the procedure, the patient is monitored for his or her individual response. Commonly administered oral sedatives include: Valium, Halcion, Xanax, and Ativan. Advantages of oral conscious sedation dental care include:
- It is easily administered (no needles)
- Generally has a low incidence of side effects
- The patient can breathe independently
- And the patient retains the ability to interact with and respond to the dentist and staff
This mode of sedation is gaining popularity as”sedation” or”sleep” dentistry; however, patients using this method are always responsive to directions or requests by the dentist and dentistry staff, breathe comfortably on their own and remember little or none of the time spent under treatment, yet they are not”officially asleep.”