It’s estimated that more than half of adults experience fear when visiting a dentist, but for some people the fear is so paralysing that it prevents them from receiving the dental care they need.
Solution for dental phobia
Conscious sedation is a comfortable solution for dental phobia that completely removes this obstacle by putting the patient into a pleasant, relaxed state for as long as necessary in which they can follow the instructions of their dentist. There is no ‘hangover’ but they are likely to have amnesia, not remembering much about the procedure and feeling drowsy.
How does conscious sedation work?
A solution is administered intravenously via the back of the patient’s hand. Intravenous sedation is the most predictable and powerful method of sedation and for most patients treatment seems to pass very quickly.
Who is conscious sedation appropriate for?
- for patients who are very nervous or have a fear of dentistry from childhood
- for patients who would prefer to not be aware of what is going on
- for patients with a sensitive gag-reflex or who experience a choking sensation when a dentist looks inside their mouth
- anyone undergoing a long procedure
Who can administer conscious sedation?
It is not available at all dental practices. Clinicians must be qualified to undertake conscious sedation. The principal dentist at The Bristol Dental Practice, Dr Jonathan Cochrane, has undertaken a year long training programme at the Eastman Dental Hospital (UCL) in London, and his patients are carefully monitored by dental nurses who hold additional qualifications and training in conscious sedation.
How to prepare for conscious sedation
- bring an adult chaperone who can help you get home
- don’t eat within two hours of the appointment
- wear flat comfortable shoes
- wear a short-sleeved shirt so that we can check your blood pressure and administer the sedative drug
- remove nail varnish or false fingernails on at least two fingers (we use a special finger monitor during conscious sedation to check your heart rate and oxygen saturation levels which does not work through nail varnish)
What does conscious sedation feel like?
Patients remain lucid for the whole procedure and can help us by letting us know how comfortable they are. However, they often recall little about the procedure after the event. They feel relaxed and content throughout.
How long is conscious sedation effective for?
As long as necessary. The procedure is most effective in the first 30 minutes and its effect can be prolonged with additional small incremental doses. Although the sedative drug wears off swiftly patients may experience drowsiness for up to 24 hours. Patients are therefore asked not to:
- drive a vehicle
- operate machinery
- cook or use a kettle
- sign any legal documents
Benefits of conscious sedation at The Bristol Dental Practice
- patients get anxiety free dental treatment
- they feel relaxed and comfortable
- it makes lengthy procedures pass quickly
- Dr Jonathan Cochrane has undertaken a year long training programme in conscious sedation at the Eastman Dental Hospital (UCL) in London
Dr Jonathan Cochrane – Principal (GDC No: 228321)
BDS, MFGDP(UK), MFDS RCS, CertConSed, MSc (Dental Implantology), CertImpDent (DGZI)
- Member of two Royal College of Surgeons; Edinburgh and England
- Special interests in Dental Implants, Oral Surgery and Sedation