Conscious sedation bridges the divide between local and general anaesthetic. You won’t be completely unconscious, as with a general, but you’ll be in a state of deep, sleepy relaxation that means you’ll have very little awareness or memory of your dental procedure. The dentist will, however, be able to rouse you if required, to answer questions, for example.
No. The drugs used for conscious sedation induce a state of deep relaxation. Patients generally feel as though they’re sleeping. Conscious sedation also has an amnesiac effect, so patients rarely remember anything about their dental procedure and believe they slept through it all.
In most cases the dentist will ensure you spend up 30 minutes in recovery after your procedure. The full effects of conscious sedation take 24 hours to wear off, so you’ll likely feel groggy for a time and you’ll need to arrange for an escort to drive you home and for someone to be with you at home until the effects have worn off. You won’t be able to operate electrical machinery, cook, use sharp implements or make any critical decisions during this time.
Inhalation sedation is remarkably safe and is rarely associated with adverse effects. Inhalation sedation uses a combination of nitrous oxide (N2O) and oxygen (O2) and has been described as representing the most ‘ideal’ clinical sedative experience because it has no lasting effects. Before nitrous oxide is administered, we recommend you don’t eat for a couple of hours before treatment; sometimes inhalation sedation can induce a feeling of nausea – however, there are no other negative side effects.
Inhalation sedation starts working within seconds, and the depth of sedation can be altered from moment to moment. Unlike with IV sedation, which is easy to deepen but difficult to lessen, the effects of inhalation sedation are almost instant. Another benefit is that, unlike IV sedation, you can drive home after treatment, don’t need a chaperone at the treatment appointment and could go back to work.
No – the gas is eliminated from the body within 3-5 minutes after the supply is turned off. Recovery is extremely quick, and adult patients can safely drive home afterwards, without an escort.