Dr. Vaida, of Altitude Dental in Coquitlam, is an oral sedation dentist as part of his practice. If you struggle with anxiety or phobias to avoid the dentist, or if you experience pain or discomfort when the dentist works on your teeth, then oral sedation dentistry can help you overcome your fears.  It enables us to provide the oral health care that you need, with minimal pain and anxiety.

What is Conscious Sedation Dentistry?

Oral conscious sedation is used for dental procedures that might make you feel anxious and nervous. Oral sedation dentistry is primarily used for procedures such as a root canal, extractions or fillings. We recommend oral sedation when you have overwhelming dental fears, a fear of needles, or when you have trouble opening your mouth for an extended period during longer procedures.

How Does Oral Sedation Work?

You will be given a pill to take one and a half hours prior to your dental visit – you do need a family member or friend bring you to the office. Sometimes a secondary pill is provided to take the night before your visit. The oral sedative has a light to moderate effect depending on the strength of the prescription and the individual taking the medication.

When you arrive at the office you will feel slightly drowsy and relaxed. Most patients are relaxed enough that they do not remember parts of the procedure. When your treatment is completed your family member or friend will drive you home.  You will find that you sleep very well after the procedure and that you experience very little discomfort. Please note that you must have someone drive you to and from your appointment as the sedative can affect your motor skills.

Is the Oral Sedative Always Effective?

The degree of effectiveness depends on the individual. People who are smokers, taking drugs or other prescribed medications, or are very anxious may not feel the full effects of the sedative.

Are there Any Risks When Taking Oral Sedatives?

The greatest risk is over-sedation. To minimize possible risks, our Oral Sedation Dentist, Dr. Vaida, prescribes the lowest dosage.

We ask you to arrive 20 to 30 minutes early for your appointment so that we can monitor the effectiveness of the drug and, if needed, to administer a second dose. To minimize risks, you will be asked to tell us the complete details of your health history, use of drugs, other medications, if you smoke (or have smoked), and more.  You will also need to follow all the pre- and post-treatment directions that we will provide to you.

What Are the Benefits of Oral Sedation?

  • When a patient is sedated, he or she is awake and can respond to us, though he or she may fall asleep because of being so relaxed. You will choose oral conscious sedation if you do not want to be put completely to sleep.
  • For patients who suffer from severe anxiety, oral sedation dentistry can be the only thing that helps you get necessary dental treatment.
  • The medication is taken prior to the procedure, which relieves you of the “anxious build up” you may be feeling in the hours leading up to the appointment. By the time you reach our dentist’s chair, you are relaxed and ready for the procedure.

What Are the Side Effects?

There are very few side effects with oral sedatives and they vary from person to person. The most common side effects are:

    • Tiredness for the rest of the day and evening
    • Slight light-headedness or mild dizziness
    • A dry mouth

Slight amnesic effect. Many patients recall little-to-none of the procedure.

Are there Other Options During Treatment?

Not all patients require oral sedation and not all procedures are uncomfortable or painful.  We prefer to use less invasive and more topical methods, such as freezing the area that requires treatment.  We also have some patients who prefer no freezing or sedation and we can work to minimize pain and discomfort for those patients.

We strongly believe that it is important to your overall health to maintain good dental and oral health and therefore we will work with you on an individual basis to find the best solution for your specific needs, while minimizing any discomfort that you might feel.

To find out more about how oral sedation dentistry can help you, please contact our office for an appointment. Or read more about our full suite of dental services.