Dental Sedation Explained

Dental sedation helps patients who feel anxious, fearful, or uncomfortable before and during procedures. It is not intended to replace a local anesthetic or numbing shots, but can be used to ease your worries about getting the care you need.


Dental sedation is administered either through a mask using nitrous oxide (laughing gas), as an oral pill, or as an injection.

Nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide is one of the most common sedation techniques used in dentistry today. This mild sedative is administered via a nose mask and can make patients feel euphoric and relaxed while still remaining conscious. It’s safe and effective for long procedures, and is perfect for patients with a sensitive gag reflex or who have trouble sitting still for extended periods of time.

Nitrous Oxide combines with oxygen to create nitric oxide, which relaxes the muscles and decreases tooth sensitivity. It’s odorless, tasteless and non-addictive, making it ideal for dental sedation. Nitrous oxide can also be paired with oral sedation to keep patients calm and relaxed throughout their appointment.

Before your procedure begins, our team will ask you to lie back and place a plastic mask over your nose. Then, the dentist will turn on the nitrous oxide and you’ll start to feel its effects immediately. Nitrous oxide can help you stay calm before the procedure starts, but it isn’t intended to put you to sleep.

If you choose to use this type of sedation, it’s important to arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home after the appointment. The sedative can temporarily affect your memory and motor skills, so you’ll need someone to ensure you’re safe while getting home. You should also avoid eating or drinking anything for two hours before your appointment, as it can lead to nausea.

IV sedation

The dentist can administer sedative medications directly into your bloodstream via an IV. This is a highly effective method that takes effect within minutes. It works to immediately reduce your anxiety and pain, and it also allows the dentist to perform multiple procedures in one visit. The dentist can easily adjust the amount of sedation given, and it can be administered in conjunction with an antibiotic or anti-inflammatory for increased effectiveness.

While referred to as “sleep dentistry” or “twilight sleep,” the level of sedation during this type of sedation is much lower than in general anesthesia. You remain conscious but very drowsy, and you will probably remember little or nothing of the treatment. You will still be able to respond to the dentist’s questions or requests.

In order to receive this sedation, the dentist will insert a needle into a vein on your arm or hand. It is important to tell your dentist if you have a fear of needles or other sharp dental equipment. A topical numbing cream can be applied to the area prior to inserting the needle, and laughing gas can be used if you have additional anxieties about the procedure.

The sedation doesn’t affect your ability to breathe or move on your own, but you will need someone to drive you home afterward. You should refrain from strenuous activities, alcohol, and unapproved medication for a few hours.

Oral sedation

If you don’t want to risk nitrous oxide, oral sedation is an option. It involves taking a pill an hour before your appointment to help you feel calm. This type of sedation will make you drowsy but conscious, so you can respond to questions from the dentist. It can also be used in combination with nitrous oxide.

Your dentist will go over your medical history before administering the sedation, to ensure it’s safe for you. You’ll also be given a form to sign to give consent for the procedure. It’s important to read this carefully, especially the part about potential risks. You should also ask about how many procedures your dentist has performed under sedation and what they have been like.

Inhalation sedation is very safe for children and adults. It’s a great choice for patients who suffer from dental anxiety or have low pain tolerance levels. It’s very easy to administer; we simply place a mask over your nose and ask you to breathe deeply. Unlike some other types of sedation, it wears off quickly. You’ll need to bring someone to drive you home after the procedure, as you will likely be groggy for some time.

General anesthesia

General anesthesia is the most extreme form of dental sedation. It is used for those who are extremely anxious or phobic of the dentist. It also helps those who are having complex procedures done. It is administered in a hospital setting by an experienced dentist. It can be administered through a mouthpiece or a mask. It is not recommended for people with certain health issues such as neurological problems, acid reflux, or organ diseases.

Dentists use sedation to help patients stay calm and comfortable during their visits. It can be administered orally, intravenously, or through a gas delivery system. It can be given to children as well as adults. It is important to understand that sedation does not eliminate pain or anxiety, so it should not be used as a substitute for necessary dental care.

The type of sedation that is most suitable for you will depend on the procedure and your medical history. Your doctor will discuss the options with you to make sure you receive the best possible outcome. It is also important to disclose any medications that you are taking. Using this information, your dentist will ensure that you have the right dose of sedative to achieve the desired effect. You may need someone to drive you home after the procedure because the effects of oral sedation can wear off quickly.

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