Memory Loss and Dental Sedation
I’m trying not to freak out. I am having a procedure which my dentist thinks I’ll do better with using dental sedation. I was totally fine with that until they told me I’d probably won’t have any memory of the procedure. The thought of losing my memories is terrifying. I’d like to tell my dentist I’m not interested in the sedation, but I’m afraid he’ll think that means I don’t trust him. Can you think of an alternative?
First, to put your mind at ease, I want to remind you that you are in total control in this situation. I’ll go over the risks and alternatives and you get to decide how to proceed.
Dental Sedation and Awareness
The type of sedation your dentist is likely talking about is oral conscious sedation. While you will be completely relaxed, you will also be conscious and able to respond to your dentist and communicate if you so choose. That being said, many patients prefer to sleep through their appointment.
Some medicines are so strong they could also leave small gaps in your memory. That doesn’t mean you weren’t aware of what was going on. It just doesn’t bother you.
Communication with Your Dentist
A key component in any doctor/patient relationship is communication. Most dentists who use sedation understand patients with anxiety. If you tell him how you’re feeling, things could go a few ways. He could find a different medication for you, such as nitrous oxide. He could give you a lesser dose of the oral conscious sedation medication to decrease the chances of having gaps in your memory.
Sometimes there have been patients with significant—non dental related—trauma in their past from abuse or sexual assault. When that is an issue, many dentists are compassionate enough to understand the fear which accompanies this type of experience and will allow them to have a trusted friend in the operatory with them so they don’t feel vulnerable.