Oral Sedation

If the thought of undergoing even a simple dental procedure like having your teeth cleaned fills you with anxiety, sedation dentistry may be an excellent option. Many patients find that sedation dentistry can relieve some of their anxiety. This is an excellent choice for patients who would rather endure the pain of a cavity than the anxiety brought on by a visit to our office.

What is oral sedation?

Oral sedation is delivered in the form of a pill, usually Halcion. This pill is taken around an hour before your procedure and will make you feel very relaxed and somewhat drowsy. Larger doses may be given to increase the amount of sedation you experience.

What medications are used for oral sedation?

Oral sedation is usually administered in the form of a benzodiazepine. These medications can have varying effects depending on the specific brand and dosage. Common medications used for oral sedation include:

  • Restoril (temazepam) – This will usually be given in a 30mg dose. It generally kicks in after half an hour and has a half-life of around 10 hours.
  • Valium (diazepam) – this produces a mild level of amnesia and sleep and will take effect after about half an hour. Valium stays in the system longer than Restoril does, having a half-life of between 20-100 hours.
  • Ativan (lorazepam) – this medication produces more sleepiness and memory loss than Valium does. It is given in very small doses (only 2 to 3 mg) and kicks in after about an hour. Its half-life is much shorter than the two previous medications, only 12 to 14 hours.
  • Versed (midazolam) – this short-acting benzodiazepine medication produces a greater sedation level than those medications listed, and is administered as a syrup that is mixed into a drink. This will generally be given at our office and will kick in after 10-20 minutes.
  • Halcion (triazolam) – this is used as an alternative to IV sedation in many dental offices, and will not be administered until you arrive.

Will oral sedation put me to sleep?

In most cases, oral sedation is only mild to moderate, and should not put you to sleep. Some patients may become relaxed enough to close their eyes and drift off, but they can be awakened quickly with a gentle shake. For most patients, the effect is one of pleasant relaxation, allowing you to sit through your dental procedure without anxiety or discomfort. You will still be awake and able to respond to any questions Dr. Mabry asks you.

Can I drive myself after receiving oral sedation?

Although oral sedation is generally mild, it is important that you do not drive after taking the medication. Arrange for someone to transport you to and from your appointment, as you may feel somewhat drowsy and disoriented once you have taken the medication.

Who should not receive oral sedation?

Patients who have liver problems will need to notify Dr. Mabry before taking oral sedation medications. The same is true of patients with heart problems, glaucoma, COPD, congestive heart failure, impaired kidney function, depression, and chronic bronchitis. You should discuss the medications and supplements that you are taking with Dr. Mabry before receiving oral sedation.

If you are feeling anxious about your next appointment and would like more information on oral sedation, contact us right away. Our goal is always to ensure that you are as relaxed and comfortable as possible during your treatment. We will be happy to answer any questions that you may have, as well as discuss your options with you prior to your appointment.