Dental Sedation Further Information
Levels of sedation
The sedation level is best described by a continuous scale ranging from fully alert to general anaesthesia. In order to have control over which types of sedation procedures are provided, it is necessary to arrange the sedation levels in a few categories. These are:
Light sedation or sometimes called premedication or anxiolysis. Can be given in general dental practices.
The patient is given drugs either by mouth, intravenously or as a gas in order to make them less worried about treatment. The sedation level is lighter but adequate for the procedure. This technique may be suitable for patients who are a little bit worried about dental treatment or for patients who are generally ok with normal treatment but who may have to undergo a more unpleasant procedure. The patient is more awake and communicable but able to accept dental treatment unhindered. The patients may forget some or all of the treatment. This depends on the sedation level and on what type of drug is used to achieve the desired level of sedation.
Moderate sedation also called conscious sedation. Can be given in general dental practices
The patient is more deeply sedated, drowsier and sleepier but still responsive to verbal commands and still conscious. Usually, this level of sedation is achieved by intravenous delivery of the drug but can also be achieved by taking oral drugs or sniffing the drug via the nose.
Patients having either light sedation or moderate/conscious sedation need to have a responsible adult to escort them to and from the practice and look after them for the period during which they feel drowsy.
The two levels of sedation are part of a continuous scale and if the drug is potent or the patient is sensitive it is possible to aim for minimal sedation and end up with moderate sedation. This is more common with oral sedation or premedication. When we use intravenous drugs or gas and air (Inhalation sedation-Nitrous Oxide Sedation) we have better possibilities of controlling the dose and the level of sedation.
In the UK it can only be given in hospital setting or practices which satisfy the criteria for a hospital theatre setting.
In the UK it can only be given in hospital setting.