Oral Sedation

Do you experience high levels of anxiety when visiting the dentist? You may be a candidate for Sedation Dentistry. Dr. Reynolds is Board Certified to administer (oral conscious) sedation, commonly referred to as “Sleep Dentistry.”

Sedation Dentistry

Advantages to patients include:

  • Treatment is completed when you are in a more relaxed mood.
  • You will have less difficulty sitting through a lengthy procedure.
  • Multiple treatments and full mouth restorations can occur during the same visit.
  • Less discomfort after treatment.
  • Most patients do not remember the procedure afterwards

Anti-Anxiety Pills

The most commonly prescribed dental related drugs that treat anxiety belong to the “benzodiazepine” family. Drugs such as Valium, Halcion, Xanax, or Ativan. These drugs decrease anxiety by binding and toning down activity within “fear” receptors in the brain.

There are two different types of Benzodiazepines:

  • Sedative-Hypnotics: These drugs induce calm, including drowsiness and even sleep. This sleep state is actually a form of hypnosis which is a form of physiological sleep.
  • Anti-Anxiety Drugs: These are drugs which relieve anxiety and induce a state of calm and relaxation.

While benzodiazepines act as sedatives AND anti-anxiety drugs, some are highly targeted at areas within the brain which focus on sleep. Others act in a more specific way and target fear centers in the brain.   In most cases, higher doses act as sedatives and induce sleep, while in lower doses, they reduce anxiety without sedation. Benzodiazepines are also Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants (i.e. there can be a decline in blood pressure and breathing). It is important to note that they shouldn’t be mixed with other CNS depressants such as alcohol. Its important that you utilize the dose your dentist or doctor recommends. It is possible to overdose, and overdoses could lower your breathing to dangerously low levels, which could result in coma or death. Please note that you shouldn’t travel on your own after you’ve taken any of these drugs. Make sure you have an escort, even if you traveled by bus or foot! It’s easy to become disorientated.

When not to take benzodiazepines:

Some of these drugs can effect or liver and heart. Its important to check with your practitioner and/or pharmacist.  You should be sure to inform your doctor or dentist if any of the following apply: known allergy to the drug, narrow-angle glaucoma, pregnancy, severe respiratory disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF), impaired kidney or liver function, depression/bipolar disorder/psychoses, chronic bronchitis and some other conditions. Its also important to let us know if you are taking other medications. There could be possible drug interactions.

The Consultation:

After discussion about your medical history, any medications you are taking, or an allergies, a few forms will be reviewed with you about what to do and expect the day of and after sedation.  Medications will be prescribed.  During the procedure your vital signs (oxygen saturation and blood pressure) will be monitored using an arm cuff and a finger pulse oximeter.  This is done per standard guidelines, although it is very safe.  A reversal medication will be available if needed.  It may take a few minutes after to orient you and get you “awake” again.  You will be released after you are alert and walking around with help.  Your escort should take you home.  Expect to be tired for the next 24 hours as some residual medicine remains in your system.  Again, most people forget the entire procedure and occassionally a little bit of the day prior.  Call our office at (843) 592-3060 if you have further questions concerning sedation.