Is Oral Sedation Right for You?

Here at FDA, we offer oral conscious sedation for patients who need help being comfortable and relaxed during dental procedures.  With oral conscious sedation, a patient takes a pill an hour before coming in for an appointment and needs a companion to escort them to and from the appointment.  When the patient arrives, they are drowsy and relaxed. Our experienced dental team can often perform several procedures while the patient relaxes. However, not everyone is eligible to receive oral sedation. Here is what Dr. Brunacini has to say about the sedation process and who can become a sedation patient:

1.  Why does FDA offer oral sedation as opposed to other relaxation options such as nitrous oxide gas or IV sedation?

Dr. Brunacini:  Oral conscious sedation can be beneficial for the patient who has significant dental anxiety.  It provides amnesia so that the patient doesn’t remember the procedure. Because the patient is more relaxed, typically their healing time is improved too.  Nitrous oxide gas does a good job of reducing anxiety, but the patient will still remember their time in the dental chair. We have had great results for our patients using oral conscious sedation!

2.  Who do you recommend oral sedation for?  

Dr. Brunacini:  Patients that have mild to moderate dental anxiety are good candidates for sedation, as well as patients that have a difficult time getting numb. Sedation dentistry can also be a good option for patients who haven’t been to a dentist for a long time and have a lot of work to be completed…typically we can provide more dental treatment in fewer visits while a patient is under sedation.  It’s a win-win!

3.  What is the process for becoming a sedation patient?

Dr. Brunacini:  First, we schedule a comprehensive dental exam in order to determine the patient’s needs.  During that appointment, we have an in-depth conversation with the patient about their dental needs and how we can complete the treatment.  If oral sedation seems like a good fit for the patient, we will schedule a separate baseline appointment to discuss the details of the sedation protocol as well collect vital signs for monitoring purposes.  After the baseline appointment, the patient is scheduled for their dental treatment accordingly.

4.  Please describe what a typical sedation appointment is like.

Dr. Brunacini: The patient will take valium the night before prior to going to sleep; the valium reduces anxiety so that they can get a restful night of sleep.  In the morning, the patient will take a pill one hour prior to the appointment. This medication is called triazolam and it will begin the sedation process for the treatment.  The patient will need a driver to take them to their appointment. Once they arrive at the office, they are connected to our vital signs monitoring system. I will then evaluate the sedation level of the patient and can give more medication to achieve the satisfactory sedation level that the patient requires to perform dental treatment. Once the dental treatment is completed, the patient is sat up and given a sugary beverage to begin waking them up from the sedation.  When the patient is awake enough, their driver will be allowed into the room to discuss the dental treatment performed and how to care for the patient afterwards. They are then escorted to their vehicle to go home.

5.  If I become a sedation patient, does that mean I will always have to be sedated for all my dental appointments?

Dr. Brunacini:  There are certainly those patients that will always require some level of sedation in order to complete their dental treatment.  It is the goal; however, to eliminate the need for sedation procedures for any patient. Sometimes it does happen where the patient feels comfortable enough to forgo future sedation procedures for dental work.  We are here to support our patients in this process and work to build relationships with our patients based on trust and a commitment to care!


If you’re interested learning more about oral sedation for your next dental visit, call us at 207-781-5900 to schedule your baseline appointment today!