Can My Dentist Put Me to Sleep During Treatment?
If you experience dental anxiety or have concerns about an upcoming dental procedure, you might be curious about the possibility of being put to sleep by your dentist. We are pleased to inform you that certified dentists throughout the UK can sedate you, although not in a traditional sense.
Dentists are not permitted to administer general anaesthesia, as this can only be performed in hospitals. Instead, they utilise a technique known as “Conscious Sedation”. This approach ensures you remain awake while in a relaxed and euphoric state. You won’t experience pain and can still follow your dentist’s guidance. It is a safe alternative that helps lengthy procedures feel shorter. In fact, most patients do not recall undergoing treatment at all.
Conscious sedation is exclusively provided at select dental practices throughout the UK, as dentists are required to undergo additional training and certification. If you are looking for a Bristol dental practice that offers conscious sedation, exploring the “nervous patients” or “sedation” sections on their website is advisable. Alternatively, you can contact the practice directly. At The Bristol Dental Practice, we prioritise patient comfort and have taken extra measures to ensure our anxious patients have access to the care they need.
Conscious Sedation at The Bristol Dental Practice:
Dr Jonathan Cochrane, our Principal Dentist, has undergone an extensive year-long course at the Eastman Dental Hospital (UCL) in London to specialise in conscious sedation. Our dental nurses, who carefully oversee patients during the procedure, also hold additional qualifications and training in this field.
In addition, Dr Rob Endicott possesses exceptional proficiency in conscious sedation and has effectively administered this treatment to thousands of patients. Despite being retired from clinical dentistry, Rob continues to return to The Bristol Dental Practice to offer sedation services to our patients.
Types of Conscious Sedation:
Dental practices typically provide a range of sedation options, including oral, gaseous and intravenous sedation:
- Oral sedation involves the use of Midazolam, a benzodiazepine medication, to alleviate anxiety and induce drowsiness. This form of sedation is commonly available in most dental practices across the UK without requiring additional training.
- Gaseous sedation entails inhaling a unique blend of nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, through a nasal mask. This type of sedation generates feelings of happiness and relaxation and quickly wears off after inhaling oxygen.
- Intravenous sedation is administered through a cannula inserted into the back of your hand. It is the most powerful and reliable method of sedation. While you will feel drowsy, you can still communicate with your dentist throughout the treatment. Some patients have no recollection of the procedure, and it is an effective therapy for addressing Dentophobia and dental anxiety.
Our primary objective is your safety and well-being while under our care. For this reason, we commonly administer intravenous sedation to our patients as it is considered the safest option and allows for easy monitoring. However, if you have a fear of needles, we are more than happy to explore alternative solutions.
The Process – What to Expect When Receiving Conscious Sedation:
If you would prefer conscious sedation for your upcoming appointment, it is important to notify our practice in advance. We will invite you for a consultation to evaluate your suitability for sedation by reviewing your health and medical history. If we determine that you are a suitable candidate for this treatment, we will discuss the available options, provide instructions on preparing for sedation and explain the process in detail.
Oral and gaseous sedation are straightforward procedures. With oral sedation, you will be asked to take the pill before your treatment begins, allowing your nerves to relax. This mild sedation will gently fade away shortly after you leave the dentist’s chair. As for gaseous sedation, nitrous oxide is administered while you’re comfortably seated in the chair. The dosage will be carefully adjusted throughout the procedure to ensure optimal relaxation. Once you start inhaling oxygen again, the effects of gaseous sedation quickly dissipate.
For Intravenous Sedation:
Our dentists carefully insert a small needle into a vein, usually in your arm or hand. This needle is connected to a tube that delivers the sedative medication directly into your bloodstream.
Wearing a short-sleeved t-shirt is essential as it allows for easy administration of the sedation and enables us to monitor your blood pressure throughout the process. Additionally, we kindly request that you remove any nail polish or false nails from two fingers. This simple step ensures the proper functioning of a specialised finger monitor, which aids in monitoring your vital signs and ensuring your well-being during the procedure.
As intravenous sedation is so potent, you must arrange for an adult chaperone to accompany you and ensure your safe return home. This requirement is non-negotiable. Following the procedure, you may experience drowsiness for up to 24 hours.
Dental anxiety or worries about dental procedures can be overwhelming, but there’s an excellent solution: Conscious sedation. While our dentists can’t put you to sleep, they have the expertise to provide conscious sedation, ensuring you remain awake yet relaxed during treatment. You have various options to choose from—oral, gaseous or intravenous sedation—to cater to your individual needs and preferences.
When you visit our practice, don’t hesitate to ask about our sedation options. We’re here to ensure you feel completely at ease throughout your treatment. At The Bristol Dental Practice, we specialise in conscious sedation, offering you a dental experience that’s completely free from anxiety and pain. Our mission is to establish a calm and welcoming environment where everyone receives the dental care they truly deserve while keeping stress and anxiety levels at an absolute minimum. So, visit us and experience dental care that’s centred on your happiness and well-being.
Looking for conscious sedation near you in Bristol? Contact our welcoming receptionists today at 0117 910 5929 or book a consultation online to discover more about conscious sedation from our team of specialists.