Oral sedation is an alternative form of conscious sedation and is achieved by taking a suitable benzodiazepine drug by mouth.
Oral sedation is sometimes used when patients are very nervous about injections.
It is sometimes used by paediatric dentists in children in order to avoid injections but the effect is more erratic and less predictable than with intravenous sedation due to the fact that the dose is difficult to adjust.
The effect may be influenced by age, background medication, body mass index, stomach contents and type of drug. Due to these factors, the sedative effect of oral sedation is more difficult to fine tune.
The risk of under- or over-dosage is higher that with intravenous sedation. Therefore, most clinicians would prefer intravenous sedation to oral sedation. Furthermore, if over-sedation occurs and the effect needs to be reversed by using a reversal drug, this needs to be given intravenously.
Alternatives to oral sedation if patients need to avoid needles at all costs may be:
- Light sedation-oral premedication (but this does not usually set in as deep as moderate sedation)
- Gas and air
- Intranasal sedation
The effects and benefits of oral sedation as well as possible side effects should in theory be the same as for intravenous sedation.
The pre- and postoperative advice i.e. fasting requirements, the need for an escort, the need to plan your day so you can rest when you come home are just the same as for intravenous sedation.
Please read document on intravenous sedation for further information!