As the name indicates, this is not putting the person into sleep but to make them calm and relaxed so that they would comfortably accept treatment.
The medication we use for this treatment is administered via a venous line placed in the arm. It is given in small doses the method of which is termed “titration”, until the patient appears to be willing to undergo treatment while maintaining communication with the dentist.
Our choice of medication for conscious sedation has great advantages. The length of time it takes to be broken down by the body is relatively short. Therefore when the procedure is finished and after some rest, the patient could walk unaided, though would need to be accompanied home by a responsible adult person and supervised for the rest of the day as the medication’s by-products in the body could still have some degree of effect. Amnesia is a side-effect, which means not much could be remembered about the treatment afterwards.
As during the treatment patients are particularly unable to make decisions, it is vitally important for them to have full discussion about their treatment plan with the dentist in a previous appointment, to also receive full pre and post-operative instructions and to sign a written consent form.
For people with lower degree of dental anxiety, it might be possible to do simple fillings or hygiene without sedation and only resort to sedation for treatments such as extractions. For very phobic patients who need sedation to be able to have any dental work done, the ideal scenario is, as they come and have treatment, they would gradually get used to the dentist and the practice team and buildup confidence so eventually could have treatment with no sedation at all.