Dental Tips Blog

Aug
12

Difference Between Conscious and Unconscious Sedation

Sedation dentistry is a wonderful option for many people who would not or cannot tolerate dentistry in a traditional dental setting.   Many people have a fear of visiting the dentist, some of which can develop into a true “dental phobia”.  An estimated 40,000 to 50,000 have dental phobia sufficient to prevent them from seeking dental care.

Many other people have physical or developmental disabilities that make it difficult for them to receive dental care.  Others may have an uncontrollable gag reflex or they may not respond to local anesthetic such as Novocain. As a result, these patients avoid getting needed dental care and their oral health and overall health suffers.

Sleep and sedation dentistry is a type of dentistry where the patient is fully or partially sedated during the procedure.  Many advertisements for sedation dentistry suggest that the patient will be able to sleep through the procedure.

In some cases this may be true, but there is a difference between conscious sedation and unconscious sedation.  In conscious sedation, the patient is given a sedative either orally or intravenously the puts the patient in a very relaxed and drowsy state.

In some cases the patient may doze off, but the patient is always conscious.  They can respond to questions and follow directions.  Conscious sedatives partially block memory formation so even if the patient was not actually asleep, it may seem that way since they have little or no memory of the procedure.

In unconscious sedation, general anesthesia is used to fully sedate the patient.  The patient is unconscious throughout the procedure and cannot respond to questions or directions.

Whether conscious or unconscious sedation is right depends on each patient’s situation.  Talk to a qualified sleep and sedation dentist about the type of sedation that is best for you.

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