New sedation service cuts treatment time for anxious dental patients  

Written by on 06/06/2022

Oral and Maxillofacial dental patients in Tayside will benefit from a new service delivering conscious sedation, an alternative to general anaesthesia.  

Conscious sedation will be used for patients who have a high level of dental anxiety and find it difficult to tolerate dental procedures under local anaesthesia.  The use of sedation can make patients feel more relaxed and tolerant towards dental treatment.

With this type of sedation, the patient’s stay at hospital will only be a couple of hours and they can be discharged within an hour after treatment. Most procedures will take place at Perth Royal Infirmary with more complex cases being treated at Ninewells Hospital.

The benefits of conscious sedation are:

  • It works quickly and the dose can be adjusted
  • It allows patients to relax during treatment, and some patients may not remember much about their treatment afterwards
  • Recovery is quicker than general anaesthesia and patients can usually go home within an hour after treatment
  • General anaesthesia may not be the best option for all patients. This service offers an alternative option allowing quality care to be delivered.

Speciality doctor in Oral and Maxillofacial surgery, Dr Vinita Shekar has led the development of the service saying, “COVID-19 has had a huge impact on dental services with long waiting times for general anaesthesia. By offering conscious sedation, we will be able to treat patients safely within weeks of their first consultation. This will also reduce the waiting times for general anaesthesia in the long term.

“We are already seeing the benefits of this new service and welcome referrals for dental extractions from dentists in general practice and the public dental service.”

Developing this new service has been a multidisciplinary effort with collaboration from the Day Surgery Unit at Perth Royal Infirmary, the anaesthetic department at NHS Tayside and the Special Care Dental Department at Dundee Dental Hospital.


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