Sedation dentistry is a technique used to perform nearly every dental surgical procedure. It involves the administration of sedative medications to reduce agitation and relax the body and mind, allowing patients to sit quietly in the dental chair while their dentist works. The type of drugs used in sedation dentistry vary depending on the procedure and the patient's pain threshold. Commonly used medications include oral conscious sedatives such as Halcion (triazolam), zaleplon (Sonata) and lorazepam (Ativan).
Professionals may also use inhalation sedation or intravenous injectable medications, which can be continuously adjusted to achieve the desired level of sedation. Anxiolysis generally has dosage limitations, usually a single dose on the day of treatment so as not to exceed the maximum recommended dose (MRD) of the medication in order to achieve the desired level of sedation. During intravenous sedation (IVS), the general objective is conscious sedation, which is drug-induced depression of consciousness during which patients deliberately respond to verbal commands, either alone or accompanied by mild tactile stimulation. It's important to note that only a trained dentist can administer dental sedation medications after passing a rigorous program of study from the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).
It's also important to always check with your doctor to ensure that sedatives don't interact adversely with other prescription medications or chronic medical conditions. Feel free to ask about the experience of sedation professionals and ask to see their credentials. Oral sedation dentistry courses are offered throughout North America at several dental schools and private organizations. If you're considering sedation dentistry, it's important to understand the type of drugs used and their effects on your body. Be sure to discuss all your options with your dentist before making a decision.