Oral sedation, also known as pill sedation, is one of the three sedation methods dentists use to help calm patients down during dental procedures. Unlike nitrous oxide sedation and intravenous (IV) sedation, patients take the sedative in the form of a pill in the hours leading up to the appointment. The oral sedative is a type of Benzodiazepine (i.e. Valium, Halcion, Xanax), which decreases activity in the parts of the brain that control fear and anxiety. The result is a very relaxed and calm mood that will allow your dentist to effectively do what they’re supposed to.
Advantages of Oral Sedation
- Easy to administer: Your dentist will prescribe a pill for you to keep you calm during the procedure. Oral sedation is the easiest sedation of the three because all you have to do is swallow the pill an hour or so before your appointment, and you’ll be feeling relaxed by the time you arrive.
- No needles: Many patients that are afraid of the dentist also have a fear of needles, which are used when administering IV sedation. With oral sedation, however, the patient can take the sedative orally before the appointment without having to worry about being pricked by the dentist.
- Amnesia: The strong dosage of Benzodiazepines causes patients to have little to no memory of the procedure. This is great for patients suffering from dental fear because they’ll have no recollection of what went on while they were sedated.
- Safe: The oral sedatives are all regulated by the FDA, so it’s extremely unlikely for you to experience any dangerous side effects.
- Responsive: Although you may feel drowsy with pill sedation, you’ll still be awake and responsive. Since you’re awake during the procedure, you’ll still be able to listen and respond to your dentist’s instructions.
Disadvantages of Oral Sedation
- Not immediately effective: After being administered IV and nitrous oxide sedation, you’ll begin to feel their effects pretty quickly. With pill sedation, the effects don’t kick in as fast, which is why your dentist will tell you to take the sedative an hour or so in advance.
- Sedation level is not easily changed: Because it takes some time for oral sedation to become effective, it could also take time to find the best dosage for you.
- Can’t drive to the appointment: Oral sedation relaxes patients, but it also makes them feel out of it. Make sure to bring someone along to your appointment so you can safely make it there and back.
Fear of the dentist is very common and can be hard to deal with. Sedation dentistry helps fearful patients relax during cleanings and dental procedures so that they don’t compromise their oral health.
To learn more about Grand Rapids Dentist Dr. Kent Wildern and the services we offer, please contact us here or call us at (616) 364-8716. Kent Wildern DDS and his dental team strive to be the very best at providing our patients with optimal care while making them feel right at home.