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Article: Volume 43 Number 1 Page 83 - January/February 2016

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  Dent Update 2016; 43: 83-89

Conscious Sedation:  Benzodiazepines: Sedation and Agitation

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Abstract: Dental anxiety is common and frequently poses a barrier to necessary dental treatment. The increasing availability of conscious sedation in dental practice has made treatment much more accessible for anxious patients. At present, benzodiazepines are the most commonly used drugs in sedation practice and provide a pleasant experience for most, but not all, patients. An understanding of the mechanism of action of benzodiazepines should inform our practice and deepen our understanding of why and how sedation may fail.

Clinical relevance: As an increasing number of dentists provide sedation for their patients an update on benzodiazepines is timely.

Author notes: Catherine Gallagher, MB, BDS, FDS FFD, PCME PCSPM, Lecturer/Specialist in Oral Surgery, University Dental School and Hospital, University College Cork, Ireland.

Objective: To understand the mechanism of action of benzodiazepines and how this may explain variations in individual response and the concept of paradoxical reaction to benzodiazepines.