Dental Sedation

At Dental House, we offer oral sedation to help alleviate pain, discomfort, and dental anxiety. What is dental sedation, how does it work, and how can it help you? Read on to learn the answers to these questions and more: 

What is dental sedation?

Dental sedation helps patients feel calm and relaxed during dental procedures. It’s used in a wide variety of different circumstances, most typically for patients with dental anxiety. Dental sedation can range from minimal to deep. In some cases, general anaesthetics are used, but this is typically considered different from dental sedation. 

What sedatives are used in dentistry?

Dentists use a wide variety of different sedatives to help patients relax and to alleviate or even eliminate pain and discomfort. Some of those most common sedatives are:

Nitrous oxide (laughing gas): This sedative is administered using a mask or nosepiece. Nitrous oxide helps reduce anxiety and pain, though local anaesthetics will often be used in conjunction with it to further reduce discomfort. Your dentist will continually adjust the levels of nitrous oxide you receive. Once the procedure is over, your dentist will give you oxygen to flush out the nitrous oxide. This is considered a form of minimal sedation, and patients can drive themselves home after the procedure.

Oral conscious sedation: These sedatives usually come in the form of pills. Dentists usually opt for triazolam, though some may use diazepam, zaleplon, lorazepam, or other medications. These sedatives help to alleviate anxiety and discomfort. They can affect memory and motor functions, so it’s not safe to drive after taking them. They are considered a form of moderate sedation, and patients may fall asleep after taking them. Talk to your dentist about which oral sedatives they use if you have any concerns.

IV Sedation: IV sedation is rarely used at a dentist’s office. Most patients under IV sedation fall asleep and have no memory of the dental procedure. Breathing and blood pressure are carefully monitored in patients who undergo IV sedation. It is the deepest level of sedation available outside of general anaesthesia. 

Is sedation dentistry right for me?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Many patients are afraid of needles – IV sedation may cause them more anxiety than a local anaesthetic. Other patients may have struggled with a history of drug abuse – oral conscious sedation may not be right for them. There are patients who might feel anxious after the procedure if they can’t remember it clearly. Nitrous oxide might be best for them, or they might opt for no sedation at all.

Infections and other dental problems that go untreated due to dental anxiety often pose a greater risk than sedatives do. They’re not for everyone, however, and you should talk to your dentist or your doctor if you have any concerns. 

Who needs sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry can be beneficial to many people. This includes people who:

  • Suffer from dental anxiety
  • Have very sensitive teeth, or a low pain threshold
  • Are about to undergo lengthy procedures
  • Have an easily triggered gag reflex

Benefits of sedation dentistry 

Dental sedation can:

  • Reduce anxiety
  • Reduce discomfort
  • Encourage you to get the care you need.

The best part about sedation dentistry is that it’s safe. Your dentist will know how much sedative to administer, and the time to recover from the sedative is often extremely short. The dentists at Dental House are trained in sedation dentistry. Have you been putting off getting the care you need because of dental anxiety? Call us today. With sedation dentistry, we can help. 


Do you feel pain with sedation dentistry?

Pain and discomfort are minimized through sedation dentistry – it’s impossible, however, to promise that you won’t feel any pain at all. A combination of sedation and local anaesthetic is used in most cases to eliminate pain. Many patients experience no pain – and some even forget their time in the chair. 

Are you aware during dental sedation?

This depends on the type of sedation used, but for the most part, patients are aware during dental sedation. Patients under oral conscious sedation will sometimes lose their memory of the dental procedure, however. Patients under IV sedation will often fall asleep and will thus be unaware, but some do remain conscious during the procedure. 

How do I prepare for sedation?

First, you’ll discuss sedation with your dentist. They’ll go over the types of sedation that they offer, as well as how to prepare for your appointment. You’ll generally want to abstain from eating for a number of hours before your appointment. Your dentist will also go over your medical history with you, including an analysis of how the medications you’re currently taking might interact with sedation.

Always ask someone you trust for a ride home after moderate or heavy sedation – don’t rely on taxis or rideshare services.

What are the risks of sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is generally safe. There are, however, certain risks and possible side effects, including:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Bruising (IV sedation)

The side effects of oral sedatives can also be difficult to predict – allergic reactions are possible. Sedatives may also interact negatively with other medications and may cause problems for people with sleep apnea or other conditions.