What is oral sedation? 

      Benzodiazepines are tablets which act as an oral sedative. 

      They are often used by dentists/doctors for reducing anxiety and stress over a short period of time.  

      In dental practice, we will normally give you a prescription for one or two tablets only, with instructions of how many to take before your next dental appointment.  

      Common types of Benzodiazepines include:

      • diazepam (valium) 
      • temazepam  
      • lorazepam

      Your dentist will carefully review your medical history and ensure it is safe to take the medication they wish to prescribe to help reduce your anxiety.  

      What are the benefits? 

      • a small dose of sedative taken either at home or at the clinic just before a dental appointment can help reduce anxiety associated with dental treatment
      • the main advantage of using a small dose of oral sedative is that it is a very simple procedure and easy to administer. If it allows us to treat you successfully, we can write back to your normal dentist at the end of the treatment to inform them of the medication we used. This will allow them to use the same in the future and allow you to access all your treatment with them

      What are the risks? 

      A small dose of oral sedative is a relatively safe method of sedation especially as a one-off dose, however there are some possible side effects including: 

      • increased feeling of anxiety/agitation 
      • confusion (more common in elderly) 
      • dizziness 
      • drowsiness 
      • headache 
      • muscle weakness 

      What do you need to do before an appointment? 

      • if you take the dose at home before a dental appointment, drowsiness may result so you should not drive
      • afterwards you may feel drowsy and will need to be transported home. Please make arrangements for an able-bodied adult (escort) who can take responsibility for you, to come with you to the appointment, stay in the waiting area and take you home
      • if you mislay the prescription, please contact the clinic

      What should you do on the day of appointment? 

      • please eat and drink on the day of your appointment, and avoid attending on an empty stomach. You do not have to fast for this appointment
      • take regular medication as normal and bring in any drugs or inhalers you have been prescribed and notify the dentist of any recent changes to your medication

      What to expect at the appointment?

      • treatment is carried out as normal, which usually involves the use of local anaesthetic to numb up the tooth
      • you will be awake and will still be able to communicate verbally with us
      • this is not a general anaesthetic and it does not make you unconscious 
      • your ability to think clearly or make judgments may be affected for the next 24 hours, depending on medcation used
      • you may experience some forgetfulness
      • you will have the opportunity to discuss with the dentist any concerns you may have

      When will I be able to go home?  

      • your clinician will give you any extra care instructions depending on the treatment carried out that day
      • you should travel home with your escort by car or taxi as the sedative drug affects your coordination
      • do not go home by public transport (i.e. bus, train, underground)

      What should I avoid doing afterwards?

      Your judgement will be affected by the sedative drug. This is similar to the effects of consuming alcohol. 

      You should refrain from:

      • driving a motor vehicle or riding a bike for 24 hours after treatment 
      • operating machinery or electrical items of any kind 
      • drinking alcohol 
      • taking sedative drugs 
      • be responsible for other people / children  
      • returning to work immediately  
      • make significant decisions or sign any important documents 
      • climbing heights (e.g. ladders, scaffolding) 

      Owing to the after-effects of the sedative drugs used, care should be taken when using the internet for personal communication  

      What do I do when I get home?

      You can eat and drink as soon as you get home; however it is best to wait until the effects of any local anaesthetic have worn off (usually 2–3 hours). If you have any concerns, call your dental clinic.

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