Dental Sedation Options

Dental sedation is an effective way to calm patients and help them feel more comfortable during treatment. However, not all sedation techniques are appropriate for every patient. Before sedation can be administered, the dentist should review your medical history and discuss current medications.


Some types of sedation require the patient to have someone drive them to and from the appointment as they will be groggy for hours afterward.

Nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide is a short-acting, safe sedative that’s used to calm patients during a procedure. It’s often administered to children who are afraid of the dentist or have other types of anxiety, but it can also be given to adults.

A dentist will administer nitrous oxide through a mask that covers the nose, and it takes effect within minutes. Nitrous oxide is the only type of sedation that allows you to drive home after your appointment. However, it’s important to arrange transportation to and from the appointment because you’ll still feel drowsy.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation, or a pill, is taken about an hour before your dental appointment to make you sleepy and relaxed. You’ll be awake but drowsy, and you won’t remember much of what happened during your appointment.

To prepare for oral sedation, you should not eat or drink anything but water before your appointment. You should also arrange for a friend or family member to drive you to and from the dentist. You may feel groggy for several hours after your appointment, so it’s important to stay away from driving and other tasks that require serious brainpower. It’s also important to choose a dentist with experience using oral sedation. They should have extensive training and perform a medical exam before administering this type of sedation.

Oral sedation

For children who experience extreme anxiety or fear when visiting a dentist, oral sedation may be recommended. The sedative is taken orally before the dental procedure, and the patient feels relaxed and comfortable throughout the appointment. It reduces the risk of an inopportune gag reflex and makes it easier for patients to sit still. It is also less invasive than intravenous sedation, and it can be reversed quickly once the procedure is over.

Before administering the sedative, the dentist will ask about the patient’s medical history and health condition. It is important to provide this information in order to ensure that the patient does not suffer any side effects from the sedative. The doctor will also determine the type and amount of sedative that will be administered to the patient. The dosage will vary from person to person, and it is based on their age and health status.

The sedative will take time to work, so the child should not eat anything more than clear liquids for 2 hours before the sedation procedure. These include water, Pedialyte, and Koolaid. Milk is not a clear liquid and should be avoided. The sedative may cause the child to feel groggy or dizzy afterward, so it is important to monitor them carefully. They should not drive or operate machinery after the sedative has worn off.

Intravenous sedation

With IV sedation, medication is administered directly into the bloodstream. It is generally used as a moderate sedation option, and it is very effective in eliminating discomfort and reducing anxiety during dental procedures. It can also help you forget the experience, which can reduce your anxiety about future appointments and may help you stick to your dental routine.

Patients with severe dental anxiety or phobia who are afraid of nitrous oxide or oral sedation are often good candidates for IV sedation. It is also useful for patients who are having invasive dental procedures, such as a wisdom tooth extraction or dental implants. Severe medical conditions, such as heart disease or epilepsy, that can be exacerbated by stress can also benefit from this type of sedation.

Unlike general anesthesia, IV sedation causes you to feel drowsy but awake, and it allows you to communicate with your dentist. Often, dentists who administer this form of sedation are certified in it by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon or a specialist in sedation dentistry.

Before you receive the sedation, the dentist will clean and numb your arm or hand before inserting the injection. You can take painkillers beforehand to control the pain if needed. After your procedure is completed, you will be monitored until it is safe to go home. You will need someone to drive you and give you post-treatment instructions, such as when it is okay to resume eating solid foods.

General anesthesia

General anesthesia is used for patients with severe dental anxiety or who have undergone invasive procedures. This type of sedation allows them to sleep through the procedure and they won’t remember it afterward, as the American Academy of Pediatrics explains. Usually, this is only administered in a hospital or a fully equipped dental office with trained anesthesia professionals for safety reasons.

Inhaled minimal sedation is a very safe and quick way to feel calm during your dental treatment, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, can be inhaled through a mask that covers your nose. It takes effect within 30 seconds and wears off very quickly. This means that most adults can drive themselves home after the sedation, unlike other types of sedation.

This is the quickest and most effective form of sedation, but it’s important to make sure that you have someone to take you to and from your dental appointment. It’s also recommended that you bring a pillow and blanket to help you feel more comfortable. In addition, you should wear loose, comfortable clothes that will not interfere with the sedation. You should also avoid caffeine and alcohol for several hours before your sedation appointment to prevent the drugs from wearing off too quickly.

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