Also known as Anxiolyxis, minimal dental sedation is the term given to low-level sedation meant for patients suffering from low level dental anxiety, or regular dental check-ups.
Basically, the patient is given something to inhale, or in most cases, is given a light sedative pill to prep them for regular dental procedures. Unlike high levels of anaesthesia, the patient will still remain awake when given minimal dental sedation. They will be able to respond normally to the dentist and assistants, if any. However, it minimally affects one’s cognition, but the patient would still be physically responsive, and one can expect that cardiovascular and respiratory function would not be affected at all. Reflexes would remain normal, as well.
Minimal dental sedation is done so that the patient would be able to relax while being checked by the dentist, which is especially helpful for people who are not that calm in the dental chair. This also means that sedatives are not always given to make the patient sleep, because some sedatives really are not strong enough to do that.
Nitrous Oxide is the chemical that is legally used to administer anxiolyxis. Benzodiazepadines are also legally used, and the effects last a number of hours. Anything apart from what was mentioned could be considered illegal, so do check with your dentist if they are using the right sedatives.
Take note that only small amounts should be used, and should only be in pill form, or as an inhalant in a mask that the patient would be asked to wear. The pills are given hours before the routine exam, or even the night before, if a minor operation is going to be done. Seeing that it could only be given this way, one could also come to the realization that the procedure would be quick and painless, which might lessen the anxiety that comes with thinking that a sedative will just readily put a patient to sleep. The patient may not even remember having gone though the procedure, given how light but effective the sedative is.
Minimal dental sedation is perfect for those who have a problem with getting numb in the dental office, dental anxiety, a severely strong gag reflex, sensitive teeth, and a problem with injections or needles. It can be given by any licensed and certified dentist.
Do keep in mind, though, that not everyone prefers this type of sedative, even if one is going through the some of the conditions previously mentioned. Also, the chemicals may not be for everyone, so it is important to talk to your dentist about your medical history, and check for allergies, if any.