Posted by & filed under Anxiolysis, Deep Sedation, Dental Anxiety, Minimal Sedation, Moderate Sedation, Sedation.

A Quick Review of Sedation Related Definitions

Anxiolysis – To mitigate anxiety. Usually accomplished in the clinical setting by administering a medication the night before and the morning of the procedure to reduce anxiety.

Minimal Sedation – Lightly depressing a patient’s level of consciousness with agents to produce a level of light or minimal sedation. The patient’s cognition level may be slightly impaired but respiration and cardiovascular functions should not be adversely changed or affected.

Moderate Sedation – Mildly depressing a patient’s level of consciousness with agents to produce a level of moderate sedation. The patient’s cognition level will be impaired but the patient should be able to respond to commands and light stimulation. The patient’s respiration and cardiovascular functions should not be adversely changed or affected.

Deep Sedation – Heavily depressing a patient’s level of consciousness with agents to produce a level of deep sedation. The patient’s cognition level will be greatly impaired and the patient will have great difficulty in responding to very simple commands or stimulation. The patient’s respiration and ability to maintain an airway may be adversely affected but cardiovascular functions should not be adversely changed or affected.

Level of consciousness from anxiolysis through sedation to general anesthesia needs to be thought of as a smoothly flowing continuum. The levels outlined for clinical and academic purposes are actually smoothly flowing and interconnected. A good source of information for this can be found in The Colorado Dental Practice Rule XIV, The Anesthesia Continuum.

Brent E. Virts, DDS