Understanding Sedation Dentistry: A Guide for Patients


Nearly 75 percent of people in the US are afraid of dental treatments. There is, however, a remedy for people who find going to the dentist a terrifying idea: sedation dentistry. It’s a common dental process wherein a sedative is given to the patient to relieve anxiety.

We’ll go over what sedation dentistry is, the different kinds of sedation dentistry, and frequent questions about sedation dentistry to help you determine whether it’s appropriate for you.

What Exactly Is Sedation Dentistry?

In sedation dentistry, your dentist will give you sedatives before or during dental procedures to help you relax. Dentists utilize sedatives to safely conduct operations, including aesthetic dentistry and tooth extractions.

Minimal sedation is often used with children, and nearly all dentists can give nitrous gas.

Patients with low pain tolerance, sensitive teeth, a severe gag reflex, or who are unable to remain still throughout the treatment may need sedation dentistry.

There are instances when a patient requires extensive dental treatment, or requires invasive dental procedures, or has a high degree of dental phobia or pain that needs sedation dentistry.

What Are the Different Types of Sedation Used in Sedation Dentistry?

In order to produce the appropriate degree of sedation for the patient, sedation dentistry employs a number of different medications.

Oral Sedation 

Oral sedation may be mild to severe depending on the drug and dosage. Oral sedation is done with a tablet called Halcion, which is in the same family as Valium.

This tablet is usually given an hour before the operation since the medicine takes time to work. Oral sedation makes a patient drowsy and sleepy throughout the operation.

However, oral sedation-induced slumber is easily awoken.

Inhaled Minimal Sedation 

Inhaled mild sedation is the most frequent kind. A breathing mask is used to inhale nitrous oxide (commonly known as “laughing gas”) and oxygen.

When breathed, nitrous oxide induces a profound state of relaxation that smothers any anxiety. Notably, the effects of nitrous gas wear off rapidly, allowing patients to safely drive themselves home following the operation.

Moderate IV Sedation 

Moderate IV sedation enables the dentist to alter the amount of sedative used during the operation. The patient is usually asleep (or near unconscious) throughout the operation but may be woken up before the drug wears off.

Deep Sedation and General Anesthesia 

General anesthesia and deep sedation are used to completely sedate a patient. Patients under severe sedation will not awaken until the sedative wears off or a new sedative is administered to counteract its effects. 

Notably, most forms of dental sedation are intended to keep patients quiet and comfortable rather than to relieve pain. Regardless of sedation type, a local anesthetic is likely to be used.

Is Sedation Dentistry Administered By Just Any Dentist?

Because there are many degrees of sedation dentistry, there are also various levels of credentials a dentist may need. Almost all dentists are able to provide mild sedation, and nitrous oxide is widely available at dental offices throughout the country.

Nowadays, many dentists are trained to provide oral or IV sedation. But only dentists who have completed the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) training in deep sedation and general anesthesia may administer it. 


Sedation dentistry is designed to help patients relax during dental procedures. It is a great option to explore if you are anxious or scared of going to the dentist for dental treatment.

While sedation dentistry isn’t intended to directly relieve pain (local anesthetics are used instead), it may assist to reduce the emotional impact of dental operations.

Sedation dentistry is a safe, effective, and beneficial alternative for anybody who feels fear or anxiety due to the possible discomfort produced by dental treatment or any other factor connected with seeing the dentist.

Sedation dentistry may be a wonderful source of comfort for individuals who are afraid of having dental treatment done. If you suffer from anxiety that prevents you from receiving the dental treatments you need for optimum oral health, talk to your dentist about sedation dentistry. Cosmetic Dentistry of Murfreesboro is here to help. We’ve been brightening smiles for almost 25 years, thanks to Murfreesboro dentist Dr. Greg Nicholson. In order to suggest the kind of sedation dentistry that is most suited for you, we will take into account your medical history, the degree of your pain, and the operation that has to be done.