All You Need to Know about Dental Sedation – Our Guide

Man at dental check-up. Patient at the dentist's appointment

Dental treatments often fix your teeth’ irregularities or enhance their appearance, such as tooth fillings, crowns, veneers, teeth whitening, and orthodontic braces. However, some people may feel anxious or fearful about visiting the family dentist. This may lead to them avoiding dental care, which can cause more problems in the future.

Dental sedation is a way to help you feel calm and relaxed during your dental treatment. It can be given as a pill, through an IV, or in a gas form. You will be awake during your treatment, but you will not feel any pain.

What Is Dental Sedation?

Dental sedation is an extremely important process wherein the patient is rendered unconscious or semi-conscious for dental treatment. It is also employed to relieve patients’ anxiety and reduce the gag reflex. Sedatives used for dental sedation are usually benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium) or midazolam (Versed). Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is commonly used for dental sedation.

How Does Dental Sedation Work?

Dental sedation works by depressing the central nervous system. This results in a decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, and the amount of oxygen in the blood. The patient is still awake but will not feel any pain.

Who Can Benefit From Sedation Dentistry?

It’s common for family dentists to administer anesthesia before any dental procedure to ensure patient comfort. Sedation dentistry can calm a patient before cleaning or exam or put a patient to sleep for more extensive work.

You’re a candidate for sedation dentistry should any of the following apply to you:

  • You have dental anxiety, and you find it difficult to sit still in the dental chair
  • You have a low pain threshold
  • You have a gag reflex
  • You have difficulty controlling your saliva
  • You have a history of dental problems or surgery
  • You require a lot of dental work
  • You are undergoing a complex dental procedure

However, you don’t need to worry about anesthesia if you’re only visiting your family dentist for routine checkups—like regular cleaning, teeth whitening, and examination. But if you’re pregnant or suffering from anxiety, consult your dentist and anesthesiologist about the safest type of anesthesia.

Levels of Sedation

Always remember that there are various levels of sedation, and your dentist recommends these based on the patient’s health history and dental procedure.

  • Minimal sedation: You’ll be awake and able to answer questions and communicate with the dentist and staff.
  • Moderate sedation: You’ll be relaxed and sleepy but still be able to answer questions and share.
  • Deep sedation: You’ll be unconscious and unable to answer questions or communicate.

How Long Will the Anesthesia Last?

The anesthesia will wear off gradually, and you should be able to go home the same day. However, you may feel a little drowsy or lightheaded after the procedure. If you’re feeling particularly unsteady, it’s best to have someone take you home.

Final Thoughts

Dental sedation will not cause you to feel any more pain than you would if you were not sedated. In fact, it may help to relax you and make the experience less painful. Speak to your dentist to determine if dental sedation is right for you.

Sudbury Dental Arts is a family-focused dental office that can help you discuss dental sedation in case you’re hesitant to visit your family dentist in Sudbury. Book a session with us today!



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