Dental Sedation: Which Kind is Right for You

Posted on: November 22, 2018

If receiving dental treatment causes fear or anxiety, then dental sedation may be a suitable option for you. Dental sedation is a general term for several techniques that can be used before and during dental procedures to make patients feel more relaxed. The goal is to manage the patient’s anxiety, so that they can get the treatment that they need. Here are five sedation procedures used in dentistry today:

Laughing gas

Nitrous oxide is also known as laughing gas, and it is the most common method of sedation. The procedure involves simply inhaling the gas. Effects of laughing gas can be felt as early as 30 seconds after inhaling it, and they may disappear soon after the patient stops inhaling. Some patients can relax with laughing gas alone, while others need additional sedation. The patient stays awake during the treatment. After the treatment, the patient is allowed to drive back home themselves if they wish.

Oral sedation

Oral sedation, also known as enteral sedation, involves the oral administration of a pill or liquid before the treatment. It is an option for people who have severe anxiety and are undergoing lengthy or invasive treatment.

Depending on the situation, the patient may need medication the night before the appointment and again shortly before the appointment. With oral sedation, the patient stays awake during the procedure; however, they don't remember much about it because of the sleepiness resulting from taking the sedative.

Oral sedation, while safe, is not for all patients. It is not suitable for people with heart and liver problems or women during pregnancy. Patients are asked to come to the procedure with a companion and are not allowed to drive back on their own after the procedure.

IV sedation

IV sedation, or sleep dentistry, is an invasive technique used for people with extreme fears or anxieties about dental procedures. In this method, the medication is injected into the patient’s bloodstream through an IV.

IV sedation is also called “twilight” because in this procedure, the patient is conscious, but they don't have a lot of awareness of their surroundings. Similar to oral sedation, the patient will need someone to accompany them and make sure that they return back home safely. The patient will also need to rest until the effects of the sedation have worn off. The dentist will check the patient's medical history before approving the solution for them. Pregnancy and serious medical conditions usually result in disapproval.

General anesthesia

While not a common method in dentistry, general anesthesia is an option for patients who require major oral surgery. The anesthetic is injected into the vein of the patient, and they remain unconscious during the dental procedure. General anesthesia requires the presence of a relevant professional. Moreover, the patient may need to recover at the office before they are allowed to leave.

Many patients have anxieties and phobias about visiting the dentist. Fortunately, there are several methods available to relax patients, so they can get the treatment that they need. Talk to your dentist about any discomfort you have about dental procedures you will undertake.

Request an appointment here: or call Rocky View Dental Care at (303) 219-2053 for an appointment in our Littleton office.

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