Dental Care

Sedation Dentistry: Accounting for Anxiety in Oral Care

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From sweating palms to racing hearts, dental anxiety is no walk in the park. In fact, it’s a villain often leading many people to skipping essential oral care. As a solution, sedation dentistry steps in to alleviate these concerns.

In most cases, sedation dentistry is chosen because it ensures overall patient comfort, reduces memory of the procedure, and allows for more work to be completed in fewer appointments.

There are plenty of reasons to choose sedation dentistry and in this article, we will look into these reasons further.

Let’s get started:

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is an approach where dentists use sedative medication to ensure their patients feel calm and relaxed during dental procedures. This not only improves the patient’s comfort but also assists the dentists in efficiently performing their tasks.

Some people who might benefit from sedation dentistry include:

  • The ‘not-so-brave’ when it comes to dental visits, or those who have real dental fears
  • Those who can’t really stand the feeling of pain
  • People who often deal with an easily triggered gag reflex
  • Patients on a tight schedule but needing quite a bit of dental work
  • Individuals with cognitive impairments or special needs where traditional dental treatments could seem daunting
  • Anyone with a dental horror story from their past that still keeps them up at night

With sedation dentistry, these individuals can improve their oral health without those familiar feelings of discomfort and stress that often have them hitting the ‘pause’ button on dental care.

The Techniques of Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry showcases different methods that make dental procedures comfortable, while giving the dentists an opportunity to perform treatments with the utmost proficiency.

A few common techniques include:

Minimal Sedation

Patients breathe nitrous oxide (the so-called “laughing gas”) blended with oxygen, resulting in a calming effect. The dentist can manage the level of sedation, and its impact dissipates quickly, permitting patients to drive home after their appointment.

Oral Sedation

Ranging from mild to moderate effects, patients consume prescribed medication about an hour before the procedure. Depending on the dosage given, patients can experience drowsiness but remain conscious.

IV Moderate Sedation

This technique introduces sedative drugs directly into the patient’s bloodstream via an intravenous line. Its rapid action allows dentists to modify sedation levels during the treatment, as needed.

Deep Sedation and General Anesthesia

This approach employs medication that either puts patients into a partially or completely unconscious state. Once awakened, they usually have little to no recollection of the procedure.

Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry brings a multitude of benefits to the table, making the dentist’s chair a much less frightening place. Here are some reasons why you should consider sedation dentistry:

Pain-Free Procedures: By numbing the discomfort often associated with dental procedures, sedation dentistry ushers in a new level of comfort during dental treatments.

Quick Results: The relaxation that sedation provides allows dentists to effectively speed up complex procedures or even condense multiple treatments into a single appointment – a boon for both cost and time savings.

No More Dental Fears: With the calming effects of sedation, the anxieties and fears often tied up with dental procedures can be eased or eliminated altogether.

Effective Pain Management: No longer does pain have to be a part of the dental story. Sedation dentistry helps to dull the senses, making otherwise uncomfortable procedures much more bearable.

Is Sedation Dentistry the Right Choice?

Yes. Sedation dentistry elevates patient comfort, battles dental fears, and promises a quicker, more pleasant dental experience. As research advances, this field only promises to enhance the accessibility and efficiency of oral health care. Long story short, it’s a game-changer in the world of dentistry

Sedation Dentistry FAQs

How much does sedation or sleep dentistry cost?

Sedation dentistry typically ranges between $500 to $800 per hour. The cost largely depends on the type of sedation used and the complexity of the dental procedure.

Can I ask my dentist for sedation?

Absolutely! If you feel anxious about your dental procedure, it’s perfectly okay to discuss and request sedation options with your dentist. They will provide guidance based on your needs and the nature of the procedure.

What are the different types of sedation used during sedation dentistry?

As per the Annals of Maxillofacial Surgery, various sedation types are commonly employed in dentistry, including:

  • Nitrous oxide
  • Ketamine
  • Sufentanil
  • Opioids (e.g., Fentanyl, Remifentanil)
  • Benzodiazepines (e.g., Midazolam, Diazepam)
  • Propofol
  • Sevoflurane


Each sedative offers unique properties, making them suitable for different dental procedures and patient requirements.

Is sedation dentistry safe for children?

Absolutely, sedation dentistry can be safe for kids, provided it’s done by dental experts who know their stuff. They’ll thoughtfully choose and monitor the sedatives, tailoring everything to your child’s needs. It’s all about checking things beforehand, keeping a close eye during, and taking good care afterwards, to keep the experience safe and comfy.

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