What Can You Expect from Dental Sedation?

Sedation dentistry is the practice of using medication to help patients relax during their dental appointment. There are several different types of sedation dentistry ranging from inhaled to oral to intravenous.

People who avoid the dentist due to dental anxiety or dental phobia can benefit from sedation dentistry and receive the treatment they need without distress. Here’s what you can expect when you opt to receive dental sedation for your appointment at the dentist!

Your Options for Dental Sedation

A common form of mild dental sedation is nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas. If you aren’t able to relax under nitrous oxide, your dentist may suggest oral sedation.

During oral sedation, your dentist will prescribe a medication, usually a pill, that you’ll take
before you come in for your appointment. Some of these medications are also administered at the dentist office during your appointment orally or intravenously [1].

In the event that you need extensive dental work or have a deep fear of the dentist that
moderate oral or intravenous sedation doesn’t help, you may need to consider general
anesthesia, in which you’ll be completely unconscious for your entire appointment.

General anesthesia may also be considered for children with disabilities who need to receive dental treatment but do not respond well to dentist visits [2].

How You Can Expect to Feel

The goal of sedation dentistry is to provide anxiety relief for patients, so you can expect to feel more relaxed and less nervous with sedation dentistry.

For nitrous oxide, you’ll be awake and aware during your appointment but will feel calm. Oral sedation will relax patients, although they may feel drowsy or groggy. Moderate intravenous sedation may make patients fall asleep but will not induce a deep sleep.

Patients who opt for general anesthesia will be completely or almost completely unconscious during the procedure and will recover at the dental office before going home [3].

What Happens After Your Appointment

Dental sedation can affect everyone differently. The effects of laughing gas don’t last long, so some patients may be able to drive themselves home after their appointment.

However, for more moderate and heavy forms of sedation, you’ll need to have someone drive you to and from your appointment, as the effects of the medication will need time to wear off. During this time, patients can expect to feel sleepy and may not remember the procedure.

Some patients may experience a headache, nausea, or dizziness following their procedure. Your dentist and their staff will be sure you recover from the anesthesia or medication before you go home.

Is Dental Sedation the Right Choice for You?

Dental sedation isn’t for everyone. However, for the right people, dental sedation can make the difference between getting the treatment they need to have a healthy smile and a lifetime of dental issues.

Talk to your dentist about dental sedation to learn more about your options and if sedation could help you relax during your next appointment!

1. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/a/anesthesia-and-sedation
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5564153/
3. https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/help/sedation-dentistry/iv-sedation/