Fear of dental treatment is very common. Some times, good anesthetic technique, behavior modification, and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) may not be enough for someone who is very fearful. Oral sedation comes to the rescue. It is important to get a good night’s sleep before a dental appointment, but with dental phobics, that can be difficult to do.
At our office, we use Ativan (lorazepam), a relatively long acting sedative. We prescribe two pills. One of those pills is taken before bedtime which helps a patient get a good night’s sleep. The other pill is taken an hour before the appointment. Since Ativan is very long acting, there will still be some blood level left from the initial dose, thus providing for an extremely relaxed state once the dental appointment begins. Conscious sedation is very safe because the patient still has their protective reflexes and is able to respond to commands readily. However, they are extremely relaxed to the point that the sights, sounds, and vibrations associated with dental treatment are minimized immensely. The concept of time is altered so that the appointment seems to fly by and there is also an amnesic effect so that the patient has very little memory of the procedure. Afterwards, the patient is delightfully drowsy and will go home and have a very restful nap.