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Oral Sedation Dentistry

There are a few types of sedation dentistry to help patients remain still and relaxed during a dental procedure. Besides nitrous oxide, oral sedation is the other common sedation method used at the dentist’s office.

What Is Oral Sedation?

Oral sedation is a kind of conscious sedation where a patient takes an oral dose before the dental procedure begins and is used to manage mild to moderate dental anxiety in patients. It’s also ideal for those having invasive dental surgery or a long dental procedure. Oral sedatives don’t directly put patients to sleep, but in some cases, the dose will be strong enough to make them groggy.

Our goal is gentle dentistry for all procedures, so our dentists in Orlando, FL, utilize dental sedation to ease a patient’s anxiety during lengthy dental procedures. If you have questions whether oral sedation is right for you or about our other dental services, talk to our trained dentists at Thornton Park Dental Arts, where we administer all types of dental sedation.

What Oral Sedatives Do Dentists Use?

There are two main types of medications given during a dental procedure: benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepines. Both of these relieve patient anxiety and stress, and the only difference between them is at a molecular level. Some of the most common oral sedatives administered at the dentist include:

  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Triazolam (Halcion)
  • Lorazepam (Atvian)
  • Midazolam (Versed)
  • Zaleplon (Sonata)
  • Zolpidem (Ambien)

How Does Oral Sedation Work?

Before administering the medication, a dentist will record a patient’s medical history and check their blood pressure to ensure they’re an ideal candidate for the sedatives. If everything checks out, a patient will be given two doses — one to take the night before the procedure to help them sleep and another to take an hour before the procedure to help relax. Oral sedation means driving a car, traveling or operating heavy machinery is impossible right after the surgery, so patients should arrange for a friend or relative to transport them to and from the appointment.

Who Can Take Oral Sedatives?

Oral sedation is ideal for adults suffering from a dental phobia where they feel severe anxiety at the thought of visiting the dentist. For children, this type of sedation is not typically recommended.

If a patient has any of these conditions, taking oral sedatives is not possible for their dental procedure. These include:

  • Glaucoma
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Depression or bipolar disorder
  • Pregnancy
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Allergic to benzodiazepines
  • Respiratory disease
  • Impaired liver function
  • Impaired kidney function

Benefits Of Oral Sedatives

Compared to other sedatives, oral sedatives are less costly both for the patient and the dentist. Unlike nitrous oxide sedation, this method requires no fancy equipment, techniques or injections, so it’s very easy to administer. Like other sedatives, oral dental sedation is great for reducing anxiety to make it easier for dentists to perform multiple procedures. For those scared of needles, the sedative is given through a pill. Benzodiazepines cause memory loss from the procedure for patients, so it’s perfect for those with a severe fear of the dentist.

Side Effects Of Oral Sedatives

Besides temporary memory loss and inability to drive right after the procedure, there are a few other side effects of oral sedatives such as dizziness, headaches, nausea or dry mouth, though many patients don’t report or experience these symptoms.

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