What is Conscious Sedation?

Your dentist may have recommended that you have your dental treatment with the help of sedation.

Sedation is when drugs are used to make you feel less anxious and more relaxed. It will make you drowsy, less aware of what is happening and with few memories of what has happened to you during your treatment. It does not make you unconscious and you will be probably aware of some of what is happening.

Once you are sedated, the dentist may use local anaesthetic around the site of the dental treatment. Local anaesthetic as a paste is sometimes used to numb the site of the treatment. Any injections you need will then be given through this numbed area to minimise any discomfort.

Sedative drugs (medicines) can be given in a number of ways. Your dentist will decide, with you, which type is the best for your planned dental treatment.

There are different levels of sedation and several methods can be used. You may have sedation:

• by breathing in gas through a nosepiece (inhalation)

• by injection into a vein in your hand or arm (intravenous)

• by swallowing a medicine (oral)

• by placing a medicine under your tongue or into the nose (transmucosal / Intranasal)

Your dentist will discuss the best method to use for you and your treatment. The dentist will give you some information about the type of sedation you will be having for your treatment.

The dentist who agrees with you the plan for your treatment with sedation will give you some instructions to follow. These are important for your safe and comfortable care. For most

types of sedation, you will need someone to come with you on the day of your treatment so that he or she can look after you when you go home. The dentist will confirm with you if you will need someone to act as an escort in this way. Your escort will also be given some important information about how best to look after you following your treatment under sedation.

This information is a general guide for patients having dental treatment with sedation. As part of the face-to-face discussions with your dentist, you may be given advice that is specific to your treatment plan. This may differ in some areas to the general principles outlined here.

Before any treatment is started, the dentist will ask you to confirm your consent. This means that you understand the planned treatment and how you will receive the sedation.

If you have any questions or are unclear about having your sedation, then do not hesitate to ask your dentist.

Reprinted and adapted from :

Standards for Conscious Sedation in the Provision of Dental Care

Report of the Intercollegiate Advisory Committee for Sedation in Dentistry 2015

The Dental Faculties of the Royal Colleges of surgeons and the Royal College of Anaesthetists