Everything You Need to Know About Conscious Sedation

Everything You Need to Know About Conscious Sedation

March 1, 2020

Conscious sedation is a technique that utilizes a medicine combination to block any pain or relax you during medical procedures. You will be awake but unable to concentrate on your surrounding environment properly.

This method is commonly used on people who may be anxious during complicated procedures like routine cleanings, fillings, or root canals. During minor surgeries and endoscopies, it is used too.

Even though people know its effectiveness, there is still a debate among medical professionals on the same because of the effects it has on your heart and breathing rate.

Comparing conscious sedation to general sedation

  • Procedures – conscious sedation is used for the following procedures: cavity filling, colonoscopy, tissue biopsies, and dental cleaning. General sedation, on the other hand, is used in major surgeries.
  • Your state under sedation – in conscious sedation, you will be awake most of the time while, in general sedation, you will be entirely unconscious most of the time.

Stages of conscious sedation

There exist 3 stages of this form of sedation:

  • Minimal- you are calm but responsive and alert.
  • Moderate – you are sleepy and may also drift in and out of consciousness but a bit responsive.
  • Deep – sleep will take you, and most of the time, you will be unresponsive.

Sedation procedures

There may be a variance in the steps depending on the dental procedure you are undergoing. Here is what you are likely to experience from our dentists at 21st Street Sedation Dentistry.

  • You may be laid in a bed or chair – if your procedure is an endoscopy or a colonoscopy, you may be told to wear a gown. You will be required to lie on one of your sides when undergoing an endoscopy.
  • You may undergo oral sedation dentistry or IV sedation dentistry.
  • You will have to wait until the sedative kicks in. This may take up to one hour. IV sedative effects kick in quickly as compared to oral sedatives.
  • Your dentist will monitor your heart rate and blood pressure. In case your breathing drops too low, you may be given a mask for breathing consistency and normal blood pressure.
  • Your dentist will start the procedure once you are sedated.

In cases of root canals, fillings and crown replacements, you will have to request for conscious sedation for it to be administered to you. This is because, in these situations, using numbing agents is enough.

Procedures like colonoscopies may see you get conscious sedation even without requesting it. Procedural sedation can also be used in place of general anesthesia if you are at high risk of getting anesthesia complications.

The drugs used

Your oral sedation dentist may use the following drugs depending on the method of delivery:

  • Oral – you will be given a tablet with Halcion or Valium as its constituents.
  • Intramuscular – your dentist will administer a benzodiazepine shot into your butt or upper arm muscle.
  • Intravenous – a line containing a benzodiazepine will be put in your arm vein.
  • Inhalation – a facial mask will be worn to take in the Nitrous oxide.

Side effects

There are some typical side effects which may end after a few hours:

  • Drowsiness
  • Slow reflexes
  • Headache
  • Amnesia
  • Feeling sick
  • Low blood pressure

Recovering from sedation

The recovery process is a quick one. Expect the following:

  • There may be a need for you to stay in the room of the procedure and only come out after an hour or more. Your dentist will monitor your breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate until they normalize.
  • Bring along someone who will accompany you back home. This can be a friend or family member. In the case of nitrous oxide, the effects wear out quickly, and you can even drive yourself home.
  • Some of the side effects can go on for the better part of your day. You may feel nauseous, drowsy, and sluggish or even have a terrible headache.
  • Take sick leave, and do not engage in any strenuous physical activities until the effects wear off.

If a dental procedure makes you anxious, conscious sedation can help calm you down. Compared to general anesthesia, it is less costly and pauses fewer side effects to patients.

Welcome to 21st Street Dental Group and schedule a sedation dentistry appointment with our dentists. The dentists in Colorado Springs possess knowledge and experience in the latest technological equipment. We are committed to ensuring good dental health for you and your family.