The term conscious sedation refers to a sedation technique that not only reduces pain before and during the dentist's surgery but also acts as an anxiolytic.
The patient then reaches a state of calm relaxation but stays alert and cooperative. This technique allows you to avoid the use of general anesthesia (which always presents greater risks) and is particularly useful when the patient suffers from dental phobia. It is also used in particularly long interventions, or when dealing with children, the elderly and people with disabilities.
What is conscious sedation and how does it work?
After checking the patient's clinical history and correctly diagnosing the type of intervention needed, the dentist chooses the most suitable sedation technique for each individual case. If the patient is deemed suitable for conscious sedation, the dentist will communicate the instructions to follow on the day of the operation: the patient will not be permitted to eat or drink 6 hours before and after the surgery. Conscious sedation occurs through the administration of a mixture of sedative, anesthetic, and analgesic drugs which can occur:
- by air
The effect is very rapid and within a few minutes the patient begins to feel more and more relaxed, without anxiety and without fear. During the sedation phase, vital parameters are always kept under control with special instruments. The dentist makes sure that the patient is always able to hear and understand what he is saying, to obtain maximum cooperation.
When conscious sedation is used
Conscious sedation is usually used when surgery or prosthetic/ conservative interventions are needed in the presence of other factors that we have listed above. For this type of surgery total anesthesia is certainly excessive, but sedation offers undoubted advantages. As mentioned above, there are cases in which the use of this technique is particularly indicated, being able to reduce pain, stress, and the restlessness of the patient.
Conscious sedation is the ideal choice when the dentist has to intervene on:
- anxious people
- patients with disabilities
- subjects suffering from disorders such as hypertension, heart disease or epilepsy
- patients with dental phobia who are afraid to undergo any type of treatment
- particularly lengthy procedures which become tiring for the patient
What are the advantages and disadvantages of conscious sedation?
Conscious sedation has several advantages. First of all it facilitates the dentist who can carry out procedures with more calm and cooperation from the patient. Furthermore, the patient not only will not feel pain but also while remaining conscious he will feel a profound sensation of tranquility and well-being and does not sense time passing. This also reduces fear and stress. Another peculiarity of this technique is represented by the rapidity with which the patient is able to recover from sedation: shortly after the session he will be able to leave the office, in perfectly normal psycho-physical conditions, even without the support of a escort.
There are many points in favor of conscious sedation, but as with all other medical practices it must be followed with extreme care. For this reason it is necessary to rely on experienced and trained professionals such as those that can be found at the Brachetti Clinic. As we have seen before, the dentist must study each individual case, taking into account both the current state of health and the medical history of the patient.
Conscious sedation is strongly discouraged for pregnant women, especially in the first and third trimester, and for those suffering from certain medical conditions or breathing difficulties. We must not forget that all sedation techniques can carry the risk of complications including headaches, the feeling of nausea after the operation and other conditions that will be carefully explained to you by the team at the Bracchetti Dental Clinic.
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