Sedation Dentistry

Everyone deserves the chance to have a beautiful and healthy smile

Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry uses pharmacological agents to help you feel calm, relaxed, and at ease during dental procedures. It’s a moderate level of sedation, so you’re still technically awake but feeling very carefree. It’s sometimes called conscious sedation dentistry or “twilight sleep” because it creates a state of short-term amnesia (forgetfulness) where you experience insensitivity to pain without losing consciousness.


Patients are usually awake, except for those who are under general anesthesia. The levels of sedation used include:

  • Minimal sedation – the patient is awake but relaxed.
  • Moderate sedation (formerly called “conscious sedation”) – patients may slur their words when speaking and not remember much of the procedure.
  • Deep sedation – the patient is on the edge of consciousness but can still be awakened.
  • General anesthesia – the patient is completely unconscious.

Who Needs Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation Dentistry May Also Be Appropriate For People Who:

+ Have a low pain threshold

+ Can’t sit still in the dentist’s chair

+ Have very sensitive teeth

+ Have a bad gag reflex

+ Need a large amount of dental work completed

+ Children are given sedation if they are terrified of going to the dentist or refuse to cooperate during the visit.

What Types Of Sedation Are Used In Dentistry?

The following types of sedation are used in dentistry:

Laughing Gas:

The most common form of sedation in the dental office is nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas” combined with oxygen through a mask placed over your nose. The gas helps you relax. Your dentist can control the amount of sedation you receive, and the gas tends to wear off quickly. This is the only form of sedation where you may be able to drive yourself home after the procedure.

Oral sedation

Depending on the total dose, oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate. For minimal sedation, you take a pill. The medicine is Halcion, a member of the same drug family as Valium, and it’s usually taken about an hour before the procedure. The pill will make you drowsy, although you’ll still be awake. A larger dose may be given to produce moderate sedation. This is the type of anesthesia most commonly associated with sedation dentistry. Some people become groggy enough from moderate oral sedation to fall asleep during the procedure. They usually can, though, be awakened with a gentle shake.

IV moderate sedation

IV moderate sedation is another standard method of anti-anxiety wherein the sedative is directly injected into a vein. This technique will allow the dentist to provide more profound sedation, although you will still be awake but less aware of the procedure. The process requires recovery time after you leave the office.

Deep sedation and general anesthesia

Deep sedation and general anesthesia. You will get medications that will make you either almost unconscious or deeply asleep during the procedure. While under general anesthesia, you cannot easily be awakened until the effects of the anesthesia wear off or are reversed with medication.

Regardless of the type of sedation you receive, you’ll also typically need a local anesthetic- numbing medication at the site where the dentist is working in the mouth- to relieve pain if the procedure causes discomfort.

What Are The Advantages Of Sedation Dentistry?

Dental anxiety can create a massive obstacle to taking care of your teeth. According to the American Dental Association, almost 22 percent of people skip dental appointments because they fear the dentist.

Sedation dentistry eases anxieties and phobias, helping you remain calm and comfortable during dental procedures. Because your dentist can often work faster when you’re under sedation, it can result in fewer appointments. Finally, many people have so much dental anxiety that they avoid going to the dentist altogether. Sedation dentistry helps you feel more comfortable receiving the care you need and deserve.

How Is The Dental Sedation Procedure?

It’s essential to ensure that your dentist is trained and qualified to administer the type of sedation you will receive. It would be best if you made sure the following things are done:

+ Before the procedure, your dentist should go over your medical history. Your dentist should also determine whether you are an appropriate candidate for sedation and ask about any medications you’re currently taking.

+ You should ask what dose of the sedative is appropriate for your age and health. It would help if you also asked whether it is within the dose recommended by the FDA.

+ It’s important to find out how much training the dentist has and how many procedures they have performed using sedation. The more procedures the dentist has completed, the better.

+ You should receive a form detailing the risks of the procedure. Go over it carefully with your dentist. Ask questions if you’re unclear on any of the wording.

+ The dentist should monitor your vital signs during the procedure, following the American Dental Association’s guidelines. The dentist should also have oxygen — artificial ventilation — and drugs that reverse the effects of sedation on hand in case you need them.