Sedation - Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding sedation

  • Conscious Sedation is a technique by which you will be made pain-free, relaxed and sedated, but you will still be in control of your own reflexes and breathing and will be able to talk.

    It is important to note:

    1.You will not be unconscious (knocked out) but will be sedated (relaxed).

    2. During the sedation you will also be given a regional block injection, (injection in the mouth) to complement the procedure.

    3. You may hear sound or feel vibration, but will be pain free, relaxed and probably unable to remember the procedure afterwards.

    4. Your conscious sedation will be given by intravenous route (needle in the back of the hand).

    During the operation your sedationist looks after you by staying with you at all times to make sure that you are kept comfortable, safe and free from pain. The sedationist looks after every part of the normal working of your body by measuring and controlling such vital functions as heart beat, blood pressure, breathing, brain function and keeping you warm.

  • This is a very safe procedure with few side effects and is recommended by the General Dental Council as the preferred alternative to General Anaesthesia. Some patients may suffer from problems such as nausea and vomiting, headache and drowsiness. Very rarely there may be awareness and superficial thrombosis and leakage of drugs into your skin near the needle site. Your sedationist will answer your questions about any of your concerns when you are seen before the operation.

  • If you have food or drink in your stomach when you have a sedation you might be sick while you are sedated and choke on the food, or the vomit may go into your lungs and cause a severe pneumonia. You should not eat for 4 hours before an operation, but you may drink small volumes of water until 2 hours before. It is important not to starve longer than instructed as this may have an adverse affect on the sedation.

  • Yes. You must bring a responsible adult (over the age of 18 years) with you to the appointment so they can accompany you home afterwards. Parents/escorts may remain with the patient until the sedation is underway and the surgical procedure is about to start; then they will be requested to leave the procedure room but remain on the premises. The escort should ideally stay with the patient until the day following discharge. No patient is allowed to take public transport or leave on foot following sedation. Sedation will NOT be given if you arrive without an escort.

  • You will be given your sedation in the operating room. Parents can usually stay with their children until they are sedated. Sedation is performed by an injection in the back of the hand, which has the slight discomfort of a needle prick.

  • When the surgery is finished the sedationist stops giving you the drugs that sedate you. You will be taken to the recovery room near the operating theatre where you will be watched over by a specially trained staff member. You will feel drowsy and may not be able to remember afterwards. Parents may rejoin their children at this stage. Your sedationist will be nearby if needed, and will visit you before you go home to ensure that you are sufficiently well recovered and to deal with any concerns.

  • No. We do not recommend driving following treatment and if you have had Conscious Sedation you must not drive or operate machinery for the rest of the day.

  • Do not eat or drink if you feel nauseous; you may have clear fluids when instructed to do so by the sedationist or dentist. If you feel fine after having clear fluids, you may then progress onto solids, but do not have a heavy meal immediately following sedation. You should avoid alcohol for at least 12 hours.

  • You will not experience pain from the sedation but you may have some discomfort from the dental procedure itself. In this case you should follow the instructions we have given you and take painkillers as directed.

  • All patients receive complete pre and post sedation written instructions and valid written consent is required before treatment commences.

  • Before treatment commences the sedationist will question you about aspects of your general health and examine you. Sometimes the sedationist may find something which could affect the sedation and/or dental procedure and in such cases it is better to delay your treatment until the problem has been resolved. The sedationist’s main concern is your well-being and we insist that you are in the best possible health before you have any operation.

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