Sedation Dentistry: 5 Things You Need to Know

Updated on January 14, 2022

Do you always dread a trip to the dentist? Does thinking about sitting in the dentist’s chair make you feel dizzy and light-headed? You’re not alone.

Many dentists have found that many of their patients will feel a whole lot better about coming to the dentist if they don’t feel so anxious about it. Dental anxiety is real, just like people feel anxious when they see a medical doctor. 

So, sedation dentistry was developed to help you relax. It’s a therapeutic medical procedure involving patients receiving a sedative dose that brings them to a relaxed state. 

It offers you many benefits; aside from helping you feel relaxed, it keeps you calm enough to go through complex dental procedures that may last for long hours. Usually, you may not be able to stay put in the dentist’s chair and may need to reschedule your treatment. Sedation dentistry makes many hours feel like only a few minutes.

5 things You Should Know About Sedation Dentistry

If you’re thinking about trying out this medication so that you can finally relax at the dentist’s, then there are a few important things you should know. This will give you a basic idea of what to expect before your dentist gives you a more extensive explanation.

  1. There Are 4 Main Types of Sedation 

You can use any of the following types of sedation when you want to use the medication at the dentist. They include inhaled minimal, oral, IV moderate, and deep sedation.

  • Minimal sedation requires you to breathe in nitrous oxide also known as laughing gas via a mask placed over your nose. The gas helps you relax and dissipates quickly. 
  • Oral sedation ranges from minimal to moderate. Here you take a pill that makes you drowsy; however, you will remain awake through the procedure.
  • IV moderation is administered through your vein; it works quickly and allows the dentist to adjust your sedation levels easily.
  •  Deep sedation may have you asleep, almost or totally unconscious throughout the procedure. 
  1. It May Involve Some Risks

Like with many medical procedures, sedation dentistry also has some level of risk. However, special sedation dentists like this dentist in Ann Arbor, MI, can give specific levels of sedation. These dentists have completed the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) and can administer complex dental techniques.

But rest assured, most dentists, especially experienced ones, can administer moderate levels of sedation without any problems. Regardless, there are people with certain conditions that must be wary to allow their dentists to administer sedative medication on them.

If you have any of the following conditions, speak to your dentist first before agreeing to sedation dentistry:

  • Obesity
  • Sleep Apnea

A good dentist must also review your medical history first before administering sedatives to avoid complications.

  1. You Need a Very Specific Dosage

If you feel you need sedation for a dental visit or procedure, you must never administer it yourself. There are very specific doses needed for different types of procedures, so it’s best to follow your dentist’s instructions and only take the sedative as recommended.

They know which dosage is right for your age and for your health, so never self-medicate. 

  1. It’s Not Only for Those With Dental Anxiety 

Many people think only people struggling with dental anxiety or phobia are eligible for sedation dentistry. This is not true. You can also get sedation for your dental procedure if you meet the following criteria:

  • You can only tolerate little pain
  • You find it hard to sit still in the dentist chair
  • Your teeth are very sensitive
  • You have a long and complex procedure to undergo
  • You have bad gag reflexes
  • You’ve had traumatic experiences with past dentists
  • You have neck, jaw, or back pain
  • You have a busy schedule
  1. Sedation Is Not the Same as Anesthesia

Contrary to popular opinion, sedation is different from anesthesia, although quite similar. Sedatives help you relax so that the dentist can complete the procedure without you being restless or worried. 

On the other hand, anesthesia numbs your senses, so you don’t feel pain on the part of your mouth undergoing a procedure. Sometimes, dentists may use general anesthesia during a procedure. During this procedure, you will be unconscious. 

If they use sedatives, you will often be awake but calm and relaxed.

Be Smart, Choose Right

If you hope to use this medication for your next dental procedure, be sure to go for a well-trained sedation dentist who has a good grasp of what they need to do to greatly reduce the chances of risks. 

Sedation dentistry is generally harmless with the right dentist and helps you overcome your fear of going to the dentist, at least for a while!

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.