Dental sedation is used to calm patients before and during dental treatment. Some patients are so nervous of dental treatment that they cannot sleep the night before a dental procedure. In such cases the dentist gives the patient an oral drug such as diazepam the night before a dental procedure to allow a good night’s sleep. On occasions the patient is also given an oral sedative drug a few hours before the dental procedure as a form of dental sedation. After the oral drug the patient is often much more relaxed, calm and cooperative, although slightly sedated. Another form of dental sedation is conscious sedation. Conscious sedation is used for nervous highly strung patients that find it difficult to undergo dental procedures. Here various drugs are used such as diazepam, propofol and midazolam via intravenous injection. The drugs are very potent and if given in too high a dosage cause an extreme form of dental sedation i.e. anesthesia. Since it is one of the main aims of routine dental sedation to avoid producing anesthesia, because it requires very specialised monitoring and pre and post anesthetic care and precautions. In addition, anesthesia for dental procedures should only be administered by specially trained practitioners, such as anesthesiologists. Unlike diazepam, propofol and midazolam nitrous oxide/oxygen is a much safer option for use for routine dental sedation. It is much safer because provided the standardised equipment is used, which prevents the patient receiving less than 30% oxygen, it is almost impossible to anesthetise the patient. Conscious dental sedation with nitrous oxide/oxygen has been safely used in the U.S.A., Europe, Asia, South America and Australia for many years in literally millions of administrations every year. In fact, it is so safe and effective that it has been called by experts in the field almost the ideal agent for dental sedation. Few drugs in medicine have such a proud history of safety and efficacy.
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