Sedatives are administered to patients as a matter of course ahead of any oral surgery. They reduce pain and effectively calm the patient during their procedure. Conscious sedation allows the patient to stay awake for the surgery but makes them feel relaxed and free from pain. Below is a list of some common types of conscious sedation:
This is the most common form of sedation for oral surgery as it works well in most cases. You will be given a pill to take a few hours before the procedure which, when it takes effect, will allow you to be calm throughout. Oral sedatives do not relieve pain so local anaesthetic will be used alongside the sedatives during the surgery. If you are given oral sedation, you will need someone—a friend or family member—to escort you home from the clinic as it takes a while for the effects to wear off.
Technically referred to as inhalation sedation, this involves the inhalation of nitrous oxide or laughing gas, a relaxant which will allow you to feel calm going into surgery.
The effects of nitrous oxide are very short lived, so you are likely to inhale several times depending on the length of the procedure. This means it is easy to regulate and control, and you can ask for more or less relaxant as and when you need it. However, if you have respiratory problems such as emphysema, nitrous gas is not recommended. It is also considered unsafe to use during pregnancy, so not everyone is eligible for this method of sedation.
In this form of sedation, drugs are injected intravenously allowing them to take effect very quickly. The dentist is able to adjust the levels of pain relief during the procedure. This is a preferred method of sedation due to its rapid effect and sensitivity. The drugs used in IV sedation provide both pain relief and relaxation. However, as with oral sedation, the effects of these drugs can take some time to wear off so you will need to be escorted home after your procedure.
There are several sedation options available for anyone undergoing oral surgery. It is a good idea to research each option and discuss with your dentist in order to make the decision which is right for you. Your dentist will be able to answer any questions or concerns you have about the different methods of sedation.