Does Oral Sedation Put You to Sleep?

Does Oral Sedation Put You to Sleep?

Jul 27, 2023

Children can experience extreme anxiety or fear when visiting the dentist for routine dental checkups or treatments like tooth extractions and fillings. Modern dentistry offers sedation dentistry to help your child remain calm and comfortable during dental appointments and procedures.

While sedation comes in various forms, oral sedation is a popular choice for pediatric dental care. However, many parents are often curious about whether it can put their child to sleep. This article explores oral sedation and what to expect during the appointment.

What is Oral Sedation?

Generally, sedation is using sedative drugs to relax or calm a patient during dental appointments. It’s commonly necessary for procedures that can cause anxiety or discomfort, such as tooth extractions, oral surgery, and dental fillings. The levels of sedation can range from minimal sedation to general anesthesia, where a patient can be awake or completely unconscious.

Oral sedation is a conscious sedation often administered through oral sedative drugs in a pill or liquid form. It makes administering it easier to children than IV sedation, which requires injections and can trigger further anxiety.

Oral sedatives are taken about one hour before the expected procedure, allowing your child to arrive at the procedure already in a calm and relaxed state. The dosage given for oral sedation depends on your kid’s anxiety level and the procedure type. Its effects can range from minimal to moderate.

Does Oral Sedation Put You to Sleep?

Whether oral sedation will put your child to sleep mainly depends on the dosage. While it’s not intended to cause deep sleepiness like general anesthesia, sometimes oral sedation can cause significant drowsiness and relaxation, causing your child to fall asleep. Higher doses are likely to cause sleepiness, while lower dosages may only keep your child relaxed but fully awake.

In most cases, many people feel a deep relaxation but remain conscious under oral sedation. Even if they fall asleep, the dentist can easily wake them up with a gentle shake, and they can respond to the dentist’s cues. Your child may not remember anything during the treatment once the sedation effects wear off.

Advantages of Oral Sedation

The benefits of using oral sedation for pediatric procedures include the following:

  • Easy to administer. Oral sedation is taken orally and doesn’t require any masks or injections.
  • The FDA approves and regulates oral sedation, making it safe for your kid.
  • Prevent dental fear or phobia. Oral sedation puts your child in deep relaxation, allowing them to undergo dental care comfortably.
  • Oral sedation effectively reduces dental anxiety and fear during dental appointments.
  • Easier and faster treatments. Oral sedation makes patients relaxed and comfortable during dental appointments, preventing them from squirming around the dental chair or disrupting the dentist. It makes dental appointments easier and faster.
  • Amnesic effects. Most patients remember little to nothing about the procedure, protecting those with significant dental phobias.
  • Reduced gag reflex. Some dental appointments can cause the dentist to dive deep within the oral cavity, causing a gag reflex and disrupting or hindering dental treatments. Oral sedation helps reduce gag reflex, allowing your child to feel comfortable and receive quality dental care.

Oral Sedation Aftercare

Since oral sedation effects might take time to wear off, your child may still feel disoriented or drowsy for a few hours. Appropriate aftercare is essential to ensure the child’s safety and comfort. Below are tips for caring for your child after oral sedation:

  • Stay with the child. You should monitor your child’s responsiveness and overall behaviors until they recover fully to prevent unavoidable accidents or complications.
  • Encourage your child to rest and refrain from physical activities for the rest of the day to minimize the risk of injuries.
  • Proper hydration. Proper hydration can promote a speedy recovery from oral sedation. If possible, stick to water and avoid carbonated or caffeinated drinks.
  • Soft foods. During recovery, feed the child soft foods like pudding, mashed potatoes, and yogurt. Hard or crunchy foods can cause injuries or choking.
  • Ensure your child takes any medications as prescribed by the dentist.
  • Contact the dentist. Contact your dentist if you notice any concerning or unusual symptoms. Common complications of oral sedation can include prolonged drowsiness, persistent vomiting, or difficulty breathing.
  • Follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions. Ensure you follow the specific post-care instructions provided by our dentist in Del Mar, CA.

Visit our office for pediatric sedation dentistry near you.

Do you need more information about oral sedation for pediatric dental care? Contact Sunny Smiles Kids to speak with our dentist in 92014.