Conscious Sedation

Author: Dr. Alison V. Berger, DMD, FAGD

Here at Spring Lake Dental Group, we understand that the dental office is not a favorite hang out place for a lot of people. That is the reason why we offer different options of anxiolytics to our patients who suffer from dental anxiety.

Anxiolysis is the decrease of the level of anxiety a patient is undergoing by the use or administration of some sort of neurologically acting drug. There are many kinds of medications in the market that work through various mechanism actions. The ones we use in our practice are and most common ones in the dental field are nitrous oxide (laughing gas), valium prescription, Xanax, Halcyon.

Nitrous oxide is a very small molecule delivered in a combination with oxygen.  It is always used with caution with patients that suffer from chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma and emphysema, but for the most part it is a very safe anxiolytic medication. It is not stored in the body, and it is completely out of the system after a 100% oxygen flush.  

Moderate conscious sedation uses the other prescribed medications classified as benzodiazepines and administered under the supervision of a physician or dentist. Benzodiazepines act at the neuron level modulating the receptors for GABA, which is a neurotransmitter that calms the patient down. Therefore, the use of these medications, help reduce the stress associated with whatever experience the patient is going through, in this case, dental treatment. The Dental Law of the state of NC has stipulated, that the dentist needs to go through the process of acquiring a special license that allows for them to sedate the patient in the practice. This law only allows to administer a ONE TIME dose, and the depth of sedation achieved is dependent upon the patient’s physiology.

Please feel free to speak to us about these options if you are considering them and we will let you know what would work best for you!