Oral Sedation Dentistry in Calgary SW

Oral sedation dentistry for dental patients in CalgaryFor some patients who experience debilitating fear prior to arrival at the dentist’s, oral sedation is a great option-your dentist will prescribe a medication prior to your visit.

Oral sedation is a popular and effective option in sedation dentistry.

What are the Benefits to oral sedation?

  • Ease of administration (just a pill)
  • Effectiveness
  • Great option for those with fear of needles
  • Accepted and well-tolerated by the majority of patients
  • Lower costs than IV treatment

Pros and cons of oral sedation

Dental sedation can come in various forms—pills, gas or IV sedation. The type most suitable for you will be discussed in detail with your dentist during consultation. 

Oral sedation is another name for sedation in pill form. A pill is usually taken an hour before the procedure is performed, producing a deep relaxation for patients who are anxious about sitting in the dentist’s chair and undergoing treatment.

The oral sedative used in sedation dentistry is usually either benzodiazepine (either Valium, Halcion or Xanax). Alternatively, Sonata (Zaleplon) or Ativan (Lorazepam) may be used. 

These medicines decrease activity in the parts of the brain that control fear and anxiety. They produce a deep relaxation and calmness that allows the dental work to be performed without interruption and, depending on how much sedative is used, the patient may remember little or nothing about the procedure afterwards.

Pros of oral sedation

  • Safety: The oral sedatives we use are regulated by the FDA and side effects are very rare. This is an advantage particularly over the use of general anesthesia, which is associated with more adverse events.
  • Simplicity: Oral sedation is the simplest form because all you have to do is take one to two pills an hour or so before your appointment.
  • No needles: With oral sedation, you don’t have to worry about needles, which are used for IV sedation. You simply swallow a pill before the appointment in preparation.
  • No memory of the procedure: A strong dose of sedation medicine will mean that you will have little or no memory of the procedure. This helps to overcome dental fear in patients.
  • You can remain responsive: Sometimes, the dentist will need you to follow basic instructions during a dental procedure. With oral sedation, this remains possible because you are not asleep, only a little drowsy.

Cons of oral sedation

  • Slower acting: pill sedation does not work as fast as IV sedation or nitrous oxide sedation. You will usually need to take the pill around an hour before your appointment.
  • Less flexible: once you swallow a sedative pill, it usually takes time for it to work and because everyone’s metabolism is slightly different, there is no way of knowing how long it will take. It also takes time to assess whether more sedative is required and, if so, for its effects to take hold.
  • Need a driver: taking a sedation pill will render you unfit to drive to and from your dental appointment, so someone will need to drive you.
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