Dental Sedation – Reduce Anxiety Before and During Dental Procedures

Dental sedation is available to help reduce anxiety and discomfort before and during dental procedures. It can be used for patients with sensitive teeth, gagging reflexes or an intense fear of needles.


Inhaled minimal sedation (nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas) is delivered through a nose mask and works within minutes. You remain conscious, but feel relaxed and your skin may tingle.

Nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a safe and effective dental sedation treatment. It is a colourless, odourless gas that works by binding to the nervous system in your body and altering the pain and pleasure receptors within your brain. The effects of nitrous oxide begin to take effect almost instantaneously after the mask is placed over your nose and last for as long as the dentist continues with the procedure. When the dentist is finished with their work, they will turn off the nitrous oxide and you will be allowed to breathe oxygen for several minutes until the sedation has fully worn off.

Patients who choose oral sedation will take a sedative pill about an hour before their appointment. These medications can vary in strength, but the most common is triazolam (Halcion), which is a member of the diazepam (Valium) family of drugs. It may take a few hours before you are back to your normal self, so it is best to arrange for transportation to and from your dental exam, as you will most likely not be able to drive.

Your dentist should discuss the risks associated with sedation with you before beginning your procedure. They should also explain how they are going to monitor your vital signs throughout the process. They should also ask about your medical history, as some medications can interact with sedatives and lead to adverse side effects.

Oral sedation

Aside from reducing anxiety, sedation dentistry also allows patients to get more treatment done in one visit, which can lead to healthier teeth and gums. This can ultimately prevent long-term diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. Sedation is also safer than conventional treatments, resulting in less physical trauma. This is especially important for younger patients.

Oral sedation is typically given an hour before the procedure. Depending on the dosage, it can range from minimal to moderate sedation. With moderate oral sedation, the patient may feel groggy and sleepy, but they can still respond to commands. However, they will need a friend or family member to drive them home after the appointment.

Some people experience a tingling sensation in their arms, legs, hands, and feet while under this type of sedation. This is normal and is caused by the sedative entering the bloodstream. This will subside after the dentist administers another dose of sedation.

Before a patient undergoes oral sedation, they should bring a list of medications that they are taking and discuss their medical history with the dentist. This will help ensure that the sedative does not interfere with any of their current medications or cause side effects. They should also avoid consuming alcohol or engaging in strenuous activity until the sedation wears off. Patients with chronic health conditions like diabetes or obstructive sleep apnea should discuss the risks of sedation with their doctor.

IV sedation

IV sedation is used to treat patients with severe dental anxiety or those who will be undergoing longer, more complicated procedures. This level of sedation allows patients to stay awake and respond to verbal commands, but they will be in a deep state of relaxation. Unlike other types of dental sedation, this medication is delivered directly through the vein. Patients should be accompanied by someone who can drive them home after their appointment as it can take many hours for the effects to wear off.

The dentist will check the patient’s medical history and any medications they are taking before administering the sedation drugs. They will also monitor the patient’s blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen levels to make sure they are receiving safe, effective sedation. The dentist will decide if oral pills, inhalation, or IV sedation is the best option for their patient, taking into account the duration and difficulty of the procedure and the patient’s pain threshold.

Once the sedative is in effect, the dentist will begin their treatment. Throughout the procedure, they will continue to monitor the patient’s vital signs and ensure that they are getting enough oxygen. When the treatment is complete, the dentist will wait for the patient to be ready to go home before releasing them. Patients who have undergone IV sedation should have someone accompany them to and from the appointment and should avoid eating or drinking anything that will interfere with their drowsiness until they are back at home.

Cosmetic dentistry

Whether you are in need of dental work for your health or for cosmetic reasons, sedation is a great way to relax before and during your treatment. Although it does not take away the pain, which is handled with numbing agents and shots, it can help you to cooperate for longer periods. This makes it easier to perform more procedures in one session, increasing the odds of a complete smile makeover with fewer appointments and less stress.

For oral sedation, you are prescribed a medication in pill form (usually Halcion which is a member of the same family as Valium). It is taken a few hours before your appointment and can cause you to feel drowsy but awake for most of the procedure. This type of sedation is best for patients with higher levels of anxiety.

The last type of sedation is deep sedation, which puts you in a sleepy but conscious state. You will need a family member or friend to drive you to and from your appointment because it can take several hours for the effects to wear off. You also won’t remember much of the procedure once you wake up, which can be a bit unsettling. Depending on your needs, the dentist will determine the appropriate level of sedation. They will discuss your medical history with you and evaluate your risk factors to see if you are a good candidate for sedation dentistry.