Oral sedation, Also Known As Pill Sedation, Is A Methods Dentists Use To Help Calm Patients Down During Dental Procedures.
Oral Sedation is when patients take medications in pill form by mouth in the hours leading up to the appointment to help the patient remain calm and feel much more relaxed throughout dental procedures. Examples of oral sedatives used are in the Benzodiazepine family and include medications such as Valium, Xanax, Ativan or triazolam. These medications work by decreasing the activity in the areas of the brain that control fear and anxiety. It is a much deeper form of sedation than nitrous oxide and typically has the added side effects of sleepiness and memory loss.
Pros of Oral Sedations:
- Easy to administer:
- You will be prescribed oral medication (pills) for you to take prior to your procedure to help you feel calm throughout. No need to have a needle stick in arm to start IV.
- The medications used during oral sedation often cause patients to have little to no memory of the procedure. This is an advantage for those with dental fear and anxiety because once they leave the dental chair they will not remember most of the procedure.
- The oral sedatives are very safe and regulated by the FDA. Complications with these medications are very rare.
- Although you may feel sleepy and sedated you’ll still be awake and responsive. This means you can talk to your dentist throughout the procedures and take instructions to help them do the best job possible.
Nitrous oxide is typically used in addition to oral anesthesia to create an even more profound effect when necessary.
Cons of Oral Sedation:
- With oral sedatives it can take an hour or more for a patient to feel the effects and sedation level can vary depending on the patient's metabolism. With IV sedation or nitrous you feel the effects right away and it is more certain when you will feel effects.
- Sedation level can not be adjusted easily:
- Each person metabolizes pills differently, so the length of time to get sedated, stay sedated, and the depth of sedation will vary. Adding more dosage will take up to an hour to take full effect.
- Need driver:
- Patients taking oral sedation medications are not permitted to drive the day they take the medications. You will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment. The driver is not required to stay in the office for the entire procedure but they will need to be on call to arrive within 15 minutes of our call to come pick you up.