Sedation Dentistry

child in PJs

Dental sedation, sometimes known as sleep dentistry, is used to relax patients during their dental treatment. Depending on the type of procedure and the anxiety levels of the patient, there are different sedation options to choose from. Some of these options provide minimal sedation, while others offer deeper levels of sedation. Overall, dental sedation has helped to make dental treatment far less stressful than it was in the past. 

Did You Know?

Nitrous oxide has earned the nickname laughing gas because it canses feelings of euphoria.In the past, nitrous oxide was widely available for recreational use and the British upper class often hosted laughing gas parties. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Is sedation dentistry right for me?

Dental sedation may be right for you if you have extreme dental anxiety, have had a bad dental experience in the past, are undergoing a long or invasive procedure, or have a sensitive gag reflex. However, your age, health, and current medications are all factors that must be considered to determine if you are a candidate for dental sedation, as well as what level of sedation is best for you. 

What dental sedation options are available?

There are three different types of dental sedation, including: 

  • Inhaled Sedation: this method of sedation uses a mask that fits over your nose and delivers nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is a conscious sedation method also known as laughing gas because it can cause feelings of euphoria in addition to relaxing and calming you. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off shortly after you stop inhaling the gas, which means you will be able to drive and return to your normal activities after the procedure. 
  • Oral Sedation: this method of sedation uses a sleeping pill to achieve a moderate level of sedation. You will usually be instructed to take the pill at a certain time the day of your procedure, but your dentist may also have you take one the day before as well. Oral sedation may cause you to fall into a light sleep, but you will be able to be easily awakened. However, because oral sedation offers a deeper level of sedation, you will need to have someone drive you to and from your appointment. 
  • IV Sedation: this method of sedation uses an intravenous catheter to deliver sedatives directly to the bloodstream. Because of this, it is the easiest method to control and provides the deepest level of sedation. IV sedation can be used to put you in a light sleep or to make you completely unconscious. This also means that you will need a driver to and from your appointment.

What can I expect after having dental sedation?

Your post-treatment expectations will be dependent on the type of sedation you received. For example, the effects of nitrous oxide will wear off shortly after you are no longer inhaling the gas. This means that you will quickly recover to your normal self and be able to carry on your day. 

However, oral and IV sedation usually take longer to recover from. For starters, it is very likely that you will remain sleepy or drowsy immediately following the procedure. For this reason, you will be required to have someone drive you home to preserve your safety. It is also expected that you will experience some residual sleepiness for the rest of the day. The deeper the sedation, the longer the sleepiness will last. 

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