Sedation is a specific type of anaesthesia in which medications are used to make the patient feel relaxed and comfortable from what is happening. These medications do not induce sleep, although under sedation patients feel quite drowsy. This type of anaesthesia is milder and safer than general anaesthesia, gives the patient tranquillity, quick recovery, and most importantly – painless treatment.
A sedative drug is introduced into the blood circulation via a thin abbocath to give the patient the feeling of being asleep. However, the patient remains conscious and able to follow the dentist’s instructions. At the same time, feelings of fear, anxiety or tension will be replaced by a feeling of deep relaxation. Also, most patients will note that they do not remember too much about what has happened and that time has passed in a blink of an eye. In general, the feeling of sedation is a pleasant experience for patients, resembling a slight giddiness.
Sedation is a risk-free and safe method of anaesthesia when administered by experienced and qualified professionals. The effect of intravenous sedatives occurs very quickly and the anaesthesiologist can easily dose the medication to the desired level of sedation. Since these medicines have a short life, patients can get up and move on their own as soon as the manipulation is completed, although the standard requires a mandatory attendant.
Before the actual sedation begins, the anaesthesiologist checks the patient’s blood pressure and places the necessary devices to constantly monitor the vital signs on the display. After the sedation begins, the dentist will apply the planned treatment. To reduce the number of procedures performed under sedation, the dentist will try to perform as many of the dental manipulations as possible at the same time. The anaesthesiologist constantly monitors the readings on the display and the pulsoxymeter so that the patient feels comfortable, safe and relaxed throughout. Once the treatment under is completed, the patient is left to relax on the sofa for a short time before being accompanied home by their attendant.
For anyone who has an upcoming dental treatment for therapeutic or cosmetic reasons but has anxiety or fear of the upcoming treatment, or has a strong fear of needles – sedation can provide comfort. People with extremely sensitive teeth or those who experience severe pain from the administering of a local anaesthetic may make the contact and work with the dentist difficult. Through sedation, these patients will feel calm and relaxed. Anyone who has had a frightening or traumatic previous visit to a dentist may feel anxious and tense when sitting again in the dental chair. This can be overcome through sedation. In addition to that, muscle relaxation, which is achieved through sedation, is the first-choice method when dealing with patients with hyperactive gag reflex and patients who have difficulty controlling their muscles and body movements. It is also the first choice when dealing with patients with concomitant conditions in which an increase in stress levels leads to a worsening of the condition (arterial hypertension, diabetes, psychic and neurological disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, etc.).
Relative contraindications to sedation are pregnancy and proven allergy to benzodiazepines. In these cases, make sure to consult an anaesthesiologist!
The team work of the anaesthesiologist with the dentist allows adequate monitoring and control of complications in patients with concomitant diseases, e.g. hypertension, stroke, etc. With correct information about the general medical condition of the patient, the correct choice of anaesthesia technique and adequate monitoring of the patient, sedation and general anaesthesia are completely safe, and existing complications like a vein rupture or irritating cough, pass in a short time.