Oral sedation is a safe, effective and inexpensive way of being able provide necessary dental treatment to anxious patients. the sedative drugs are not designed to make the patient sleep but rather to take the nervousness away and have a calming effect. the patient will feel drowsy and may want to nod off but at the same time will be able to respond to questions and instructions.
Most commonly, oral sedation [usually in the form of anti-anxiety pills also known as “happy pills] is prescribed for relieving anxiety just before and during the dental appointment.
In dentistry most of the drugs prescribed for anxiety belong to the benzodiazepine family you’ve probably heard of some of them by their tradenames e.g. Valium, Halcion, Xanax and Temazepam. In general benzodiazepines act as sedative hypnotics – induce a calming effect including drowsiness [“sedation”]. In higher doses they induce a state resembling physiologic sleep [“hypnosis”].
You will typically not be fast asleep but rather very relaxed and indifferent to what’s happening around you. In fact if necessary you will be able to converse with the dentist or hygienist during the treatment. Quite often the drugs will have an amnesic effect and you may not remember the experience at all.
Because of the drowsiness these drugs create it is vital that a responsible adult is available to collect you after the sedation procedure. Furthermore it is not safe for you to drive the same day, nor appropriate for you to have to make any important decisions that day.