Like nitrous oxide sedation, oral sedation does not make the patients completely unconscious, but only relaxed. This is the most common technique used by dentists in the United States to calm the patients. It is quite easy to administer and does not require the use of needles. Oral sedation can be light to moderate, depending on the dosage.
In light sedation, the patients are provided with oral medications before the dental treatment. Normally, the effect of the drug lasts for 90 minutes or so. Conscious sedation is delivered by either a single or incremental dose. The mode of treatment is similar to that of light sedation but lasts longer.
Dentists usually prescribe drugs under the benzodiazepine family to their patients in oral sedation dentistry. Examples are Xanax, Ativan, Valium and Halcion. If you or your child take benzodiazepines, common side effects of these drugs include grogginess and disorientation. There are instances when patients fall asleep after taking benzos. It is completely normal and they can be awakened by gently shaking them.