Dental Sedation Options

Many patients experience anxiety or fear of dental procedures. Sedation dentistry helps calm patients, allowing them to comfortably receive the oral care they need without feeling anxious or stressed.


There are several types of sedation, from mild inhaled sedatives to general anesthesia. Inhaled sedation involves breathing nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) through a mask over your nose.

Nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is a safe and effective short-acting sedative that relieves anxiety and makes dental procedures less stressful for adults and children. It’s also one of the most widely used sedative treatments for oral surgeries and other medical procedures, including root canal treatment and gum surgery.

This odorless and colorless gas is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a mask fitted over the nose. The sedation starts to take effect within three to five minutes, and you’ll begin to feel calm and relaxed. You may feel a little giddy or experience euphoria, and your arms and legs might feel tingly or heavy. The dentist will control the dosage and adjust it throughout your treatment.

Once the procedure is over, we switch you to pure oxygen to flush out the nitrous oxide from your system and help you wake up. Nausea can occur as soon as the sedative effects wear off, so it’s important to have a light meal before your appointment and avoid alcohol or large meals for a few hours afterward.

Nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation is a safe, effective and convenient technique for managing pain and anxiety in dentistry, but it’s not suitable for everyone. You should avoid it if you are pregnant, have respiratory issues or vitamin B12 and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency. It’s also not recommended for patients who are driving themselves to or from the dental office.

IV sedation

IV sedation is a safe, effective treatment option for patients with dental anxiety or those who need to undergo longer and more complex procedures such as oral surgery. The dentist will administer the sedative via intravenous injection in the patient’s arm. This type of sedation allows the patient to remain awake but drowsy or relaxed throughout the procedure, so they will likely have little to no memory of it afterward.

The dentist may also use nitrous oxide to reduce anxiety before giving the IV sedation, which can reduce the overall amount of medication needed. In addition, local anesthetic may be applied to the area where the sedation will be administered.

When using this method of sedation, it can take some time for the drug to take effect. For this reason, it is important for the patient to arrive early for their appointment and not eat or drink anything at least 24 hours before the procedure. Having a friend or family member drive you home afterward is recommended, since it can take several hours for the sedative to wear off completely.

It is important to discuss the various options of sedation with your doctor or dentist before having a dental procedure. It is also important to disclose any allergies or concerns that you have. Patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding, have a blood-clotting disorder, or are taking antidepressants or antipsychotic drugs should not receive this type of sedation.

Oral sedation

Oral sedation is an option for patients who need a little more than nitrous oxide. This treatment involves taking a pill an hour before your appointment that makes you drowsy and relaxed. The effects wear off fairly quickly, so you should have someone drive you to and from your dentist’s office.

This form of sedation is best for patients who have anxiety about going to the dentist and fear dental procedures. It can also be used for children who have a hard time sitting still or controlling their movements during dental appointments. In most cases, a dentist can administer oral sedation, but it’s important to find out how much training they have and the number of sedation procedures they have performed.

The sedative used in oral sedation is a type of benzodiazepine, which is sold under the brand names Valium, Halcion, and Xanax. It works by slowing down activity in areas of the brain that affect anxiety and fear. It is easy to administer, since it only requires patients to swallow a pill an hour before their appointment. It can cause amnesia, so patients usually don’t remember anything about their dental procedure afterwards. It is important for patients to bring comfortable clothes to their dental appointments, and they should avoid eating foods that have a strong smell.


Ketamine is a very powerful sedative that can be used for dental sedation. It works by blocking nerve impulses in the brain, which makes you feel relaxed and calm. It also helps to reduce your anxiety and pain. It can be administered intravenously or orally, and is an excellent option for patients with dental fear or anxiety. It works very quickly and lasts for a short period of time. Because of its potency, it should only be administered by trained medical professionals.

Before undergoing sedation, make sure to wear comfortable clothes and bring someone who can drive you to and from the dentist’s office. You should also avoid wearing clothing with binding waistbands or scratchy seams, as these may irritate your skin. In addition, you should refrain from drinking alcohol or caffeine on the day of your appointment. Also, be sure to bring a list of any medications you are taking or have recently taken.

Sedation can help you relax and enjoy your dental treatment, and it can even reduce the gag reflex. However, it is important to find a dentist who has extensive experience with this type of sedation. Ask your dentist about his or her training and how many sedation-related procedures he or she has performed. You should also make sure that the sedation drugs you receive do not interact with any other medications or chronic health conditions.