Fear and anxiety regarding dentistry continue to persist, despite the modern advances in local anesthetics. The majority of individuals admit they are fearful to some extent, but many avoid dental care altogether. Patients with a moderate to high level of fear or anxiety are more likely to miss, cancel, or avoid dental appointments. Using sedation solves this issue easily and safely.
When it comes to sedation, the oral route is widely accepted, easy, convenient, painless, and also inexpensive. The use of sedatives to produce anxiolysis (minimal sedation) in a healthy adult is typically safe and effective, provided the appropriate dose is prescribed and that adequate time is given to allow the drug to reach its peak effect.
Employing oral sedation does not guarantee that a patient will be in a state of sedation, nor does it guarantee that the patient will not drift into deeper levels of sedation. For this reason, patients should be treated with the lowest effective dose of the sedative agent chosen to best suit their needs.
But – is oral sedation for everyone?
As with all techniques, oral sedation has its limitations, however. Oral sedation can help the majority of patients with mild to moderate levels of fear and anxiety, but may be ineffective in patients with higher levels of anxiety. The practitioner must remember that a certain portion of the fearful public will not be successfully managed using oral sedation because empiric dosing is not an exact science.
Of course, something such as sedation does come with its own risks and dangers. It is extremely important for the safety of the patient that oral sedation is taken very seriously, and that all necessary precautions are followed to the T. There is very little room for mistakes when it comes to ensuring patient safety while utilizing oral sedation methods. We’ll go over some of the most important factors for this subject here.
There are several methods of oral sedation, however, the precautions for them are similar. One of the most popular types of oral sedation is a medication called Halcion, which comes in the form of a pill. This pill is taken by the patient prior to their appointment and will induce them into a deeply relaxed and comfortable state, possibly even falling asleep. However, due to the sedative properties of Halcion (triazolam), there are some safety measures that the patient must prepare to take in advance.
No matter the method of oral sedation, the most important thing to monitor before, during, and after the use of oral sedation is that of the airway. The airway should always be considered a chief concern, no matter the route of sedation.
Always be prepared for an emergency. Your dental office should have a number of crucial items which would be extremely important in the event of an emergency related to oral sedation.
- Have emergency medical kids available at every office
- Everyone should be CPR trained
- Scheduled practices should be conducted every 6 months
- Update patient medical histories every visit
- Be careful when prescribing Triazolam
- Check the patient’s blood pressure prior to any significant dental procedure
- A medical doctor should consult paperwork