What Medications Should Be Avoided Before or After Sedation Dentistry?

The medications used for oral sedation are called benzodiazepines, which are often prescribed for anxiety disorders such as panic disorder. These drugs reduce anxiety by binding and attenuating activity within the “fear receptors” of the brain. Before your appointment, we recommend that you refrain from eating anything or drinking non-transparent liquids for at least six hours. Eating shortly before taking the medicine may reduce its effectiveness & may cause nausea. Oral sedation is usually administered in the form of a pill taken approximately one hour before the procedure.

This pill, which is usually a type of benzodiazepines, helps you relax and stay calm during the procedure. In most cases, a local anesthetic will be used along with an oral medication to minimize discomfort. You will need someone to drive you back and forth to the dental office. You should refrain from driving or operating heavy machinery for at least 24 hours after receiving oral sedation. Conscious sedation is a technique intended to treat dental phobia and should not be considered an alternative to effective local anesthesia or good behavioral management.

Fortunately, sedation dentistry offers options to reduce anxiety and can be used for anything from simple dental cleaning to more complex procedures. Some dentists use an anesthesiologist, who is specially trained to administer all levels of sedation and anesthesia to both children and adults. Sevoflurane is an ideal induction agent before starting the infusion of a total intravenous anesthetic, such as propofol, to maintain sedation. Unfortunately, avoiding routine dental care can lead to poor oral health and the need for more extensive procedures. Patients with heart, lung, or liver diseases should consult their dentist or primary care physician before undergoing oral sedation. If you experience significant anxiety during dental procedures, your dentist may prescribe moderate sedation.

As already mentioned, it's not safe to drive for the first 24 hours after the dental sedation procedure, so avoid sitting behind the wheel during this time. Regardless of the type of sedation you receive, you will usually also need a local anesthetic (a numbing medication where the dentist is working in the mouth) to relieve pain if the procedure causes you any discomfort. Chris Green urges patients to disclose what medication they are currently taking so that they can review it and evaluate how it will interact with the oral sedative. While benzodiazepines act as sedatives and anxiolytics, some primarily target areas of the brain that focus on sleep. The purpose of this review is to study recent trends in conscious sedation in the field of dentistry from the perspective of an anesthesiologist.

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