This post is the fourth in a series on combating dental anxiety with painless anesthetic delivery and conscious sedation. If you haven’t read parts 1 – 3, I recommend you do before continuing.
Conscious sedation (continued)
Many practitioners use intravenous medication in conscious sedation. Dr. Abeyta and her team; however, use orally administered medication, or medication given through a mask.
To better understand conscious sedation, let’s take a look at the levels of sedation and what they look like:
- Mild sedation – under minimal sedation, the patient will be relaxed but still conscious. They will remember the procedure and be able to understand and respond to instructions. While the patient must be closely monitored, supplemental oxygen is not required at this level of sedation.
- Moderate sedation – under moderate sedation, many people fall asleep easily. However, they will awake just as easily when spoken to or touched. Their memory of the procedure may be foggy, and they generally won’t be able to understand or follow instructions. The patient must be closely monitored and oxygen may be used at the deeper levels of moderate sedation.
- Deep sedation – under deep sedation, the patient will sleep through the procedure. They will have little or no memory of the procedure. They will be unresponsive to instructions. The patient will be very closely monitored, often with multiple sensors placed on the body to track respiration, heart rate, and blood oxygenation. Supplemental oxygen is used often in deep sedation.
Conscious sedation deals with mild and moderate sedation. However, no two people respond the exact same way to sedation, so it’s critical that the patient is constantly and closely monitored regardless of the level of sedation. For the vast majority of patients, even those with moderate to severe odontophobia, moderate sedation will be sufficient to overcome their fear and anxiety so they can get the treatment they need.