Oral sedation is generally a safe method of dental sedation that can be used by most people, with only few contraindications.
As the most common drugs used in oral sedation belong to the family of benzodiazepines, known contraindications refer to certain conditions or medications that contradict the use of benzodiazepines.
The most important contraindications of using oral sedation for patient relaxation include the following:
Patient groups not suitable for oral sedation dentistry
Oral sedation is generally not suitable (or a dose adjustment may be required) for the following patient groups:
- Pregnant women or nursing mothers, because the sedative drugs can pass to the baby.
- Patients with glaucoma (eye disease) or myasthenia gravis (nerve disease).
- Patients with hypersensitivity or allergic to benzodiazepines
- Patients with impaired kidney or liver function, congestive heart failure, asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), should not use some types of benzodiazepines.
- Patients with depression/bipolar disorder/psychoses, because of the unexpected results of sedation and the medications they take.
- Any other condition mentioned on the user instructions of the specific sedative to be used.
Oral sedatives interaction with other medicines
Oral sedatives may also interact with certain medications or even foods, which may alter the effectiveness of sedation medications:
- Medications – other sedatives, anti-depression drugs, tranquilizers, certain antibiotics (or any other mentioned on the user instructions of the specific sedative to be used)
- Foods – some foods like grapefruit contain enzymes that may interfere with the metabolism of the oral sedation medications.
- Natural remedies and herbal supplements, may also affect the action of sedative drugs.
- Smoking and alcohol consumption can influence the effectiveness of sedation.
The importance of patient's medical history
It is critical that before recommending an oral sedation medication, the dentist has a complete health history of the patient including:
- Medical conditions
- All prescription medications
- Over-the-counter medications, vitamins, alternative remedies, or herbal supplements
The medications and dosages for the oral sedation treatment are adjusted for minimizing any possible side effects and risks.
If the patient is not suitable candidate for oral sedation, the dentist may recommend another dental sedation method.