The Dangers of Conscious Sedation in Dentistry

Conscious dental sedation is a method used in the dentistry field to sedate children, infants, and those individuals that are overly fearful of dental procedures.

Conscious sedation involves the use of nitrous oxide, oxygen, and the use of sedatives to put the patient into a sedated state where they will have no memory of the dental procedures performed.

The use of conscious sedation allows the dentist to put a patient into a state where they can be responsive to directives offered by the dentist, but the patient remains unaware of procedures performed. While this method of sedation has some positive effects for many, it can put children and even adults at risk of complications.

Some dental patients will endure side effects after undergoing conscious dental sedation. Side effects can include things like nausea, vomiting, or the patient may have an intense headache after awaking from the sedated state.

However, there have been a few deaths that have also resulted from its use. If the conscious sedation medication is not offered in the right doses, if the patient is not monitored correctly during the dental procedure, and if the patient has underlying health conditions, conscious sedation can have fatal results.

Some cases are causing parents to wonder if conscious sedation while performing dental procedures is really safe.

It is imperative that the dentist offering conscious sedation to ease dental procedure is fully trained in the procedure. Steps have to be taken before, during and after the procedure to ensure the safety of the patient.

Patients cannot eat before conscious sedation since it increases the likelihood that the patient may choke during the procedure, and the patient’s airway and vital signs should be monitored to ensure that there are no complications.

Conscious sedation may not be the right choice for every dental patient, but when used correctly with adequate safety measures in place, a dental patient that is fearful of procedures or that may otherwise have difficulty having dental procedures performed can clearly benefit from conscious sedation. A dentist can do more dental work in a single session and one can forego dealing with extreme pain and anxiety during dental procedures.

While death complications from conscious sedation in dentistry are rare, you will want to work with a dentist that takes every precaution possible. Deal with a dentist that not only has the proper training, but also choose a dentist that demands a full physical before a procedure with dental sedation.

You should not be afraid to ask the dentist for his or her credentials, and you will want to be fully informed about the process before you agree to conscious sedation for your child or yourself.