Dental and office sedation

Q. What is dental and office sedation?

Dental and office sedation allows a dental or minor surgical procedure to proceed outside of a hospital for those who are nervous or anxious about their procedure. Conscious sedation is provided to relieve the anxiety and make you feel calm and comfortable. Medications are used to relieve anxiety while you remain awake. You will still be able to talk, follow commands and hear things, however you will be significantly calmer than you would otherwise be. You may feel a little sleepy, however you will not be asleep at any point. It is common to not remember anything about the procedure or have a patchy memory, however this is never guaranteed.

To be fully asleep and unaware of your procedure requires a general anaesthetic. This is significantly more complicated than conscious sedation and can only be provided in a hospital. If you believe you require full anaesthesia, speak to your proceduralists about alternate arrangements.

Q. Who provides the sedation?

Your sedation will only be provided by a fully trained anaesthetist. An anaesthetist is a specialist doctor who has undergone five or more years of rigorous training to provide high-quality, safe sedation and anaesthetic services. They are fully trained to deal with any complications that may result from your sedation.

Q. What will happen on the day?

After checking your medical history and discussing the sedation with you, your anaesthetist will insert a small drip and provide medication through the drip. You will breath oxygen through the nose while the sedation is being delivered.

You will be fully monitored in the same way you would be if you were in a hospital operating room. Your anaesthetist will be by your side for your entire procedure, constantly assessing your level of sedation and vital signs. Life threatening complications from sedation are rare.

You proceduralist will then numb the area of your procedure using local anaesthetic injections. This local anaesthetic usually lasts 4-24 hours. Once your procedure is completed, your anaesthetist will stop the sedation. Your anaesthetist will let you know when it is safe to go home and you must be picked up from the surgery by a responsible adult. Your proceduralist may provide you with pain relief medications to take home.

Q. Is sedation safe?

Due to extensive specialist medical training, as well as modern equipment and medications, anaesthesia and sedation undertaken in Australia is very safe. There is, however, a level of risk associated with every part of our daily lives, and undergoing anaesthesia for a procedure is no different. Your sedation will be provided by fully qualified anaesthetists, who are the experts in sedation. You will be fully monitored in the same way you would be if you were having a general anaesthetic in a hospital operating room. Your anaesthetist will have all the necessary equipment and medications on hand in the rare event of an emergency.

Q. What precautions do I need to take?

Fasting is important for your safety. You should not eat or drink anything six hours before your procedure. You may have water or clear apple juice up until two hours before your procedure. Do not take any sedating tablets or strong pain medications prior to your procedure.

Recovery from conscious sedation usually takes less than 10 minutes. You may feel a little woozy for up to 24 hours afterwards, but you will be able to eat and drink straight away. You will need a responsible adult to transport you home and stay with you overnight. You should not drive, drink alcohol, use machinery or sign important documents for 24 hours after your procedure.

Q. What happens if there is a medical emergency?

In the event of a medical emergency, your anaesthetist is highly trained for such situations. They will have the equipment and medications on hand to provide emergency care. Transfer to an appropriate hospital will then be arranged for your ongoing care.

Q. Other dentists offer “sleep dentistry”. Is that different?

Unless the clinic has a private facility license, the only service that can legally be provided is light sedation. Some clinics use the term “sleep” to describe sedation and tell you that you won’t remember anything, however this can be misleading.

Sedation can be offered by dentists with additional training or any type of medical doctor. You should check with your dentist who will be providing the sedation and what qualifications they have. Additionally, you should ask how they will monitor the sedation and what emergency equipment they have. If you need more information, you should ask to speak to the sedation provider.

Our service only uses fully qualified anaesthetists and full theatre monitoring. We exceed all safety guidelines, ensuring that in the rare event of a medical emergency, you have the best care possible by your side.

Q. Where can I get more information?

We will contact you prior to your procedure to discuss your health and advise the cost of your sedation.

Alternatively, you can call or email us:
Phone: (02) 4001 0225