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What is Sedation Dentistry?

Does the thought of sitting on a dentist chair give you goosebumps? Then, you aren’t alone. A lot of people are phobic to dental treatment and they avoid going to the dentist even if they are experiencing unbearable pain.

Sedation dentistry works like a magic pill for people with Dentophobia. It takes away a patient’s anxiety. Whether it is a root canal treatment or simple teeth cleaning, sedation can be used for any dental procedure. Sedation dentistry (also known as sleep dentistry) involves the use of medications that acts as sedatives and helps patients relax during dental procedures.
Sometimes, when more complicated procedures are to be done patients are given anesthetics. Every dental procedure involves a different situation but a skilled dentist knows how to deal with the nuances.

History of Sedation Dentistry

Dental sedation has been in use since 1800. Sedation dentistry was not common in the past as it is nowadays.

It was in 1844, when Dr. Horace Wells, a dentist from England used nitrous oxide to sedate a patient undergoing tooth extraction in a public demonstration. But nitrous oxide doesn’t help the patient in lessening pain and he moaned during the procedure. It happens because Wells doesn’t calculate the dose of nitrous oxide. Later in 1846, Dr. William Morton successfully demonstrated the use of Ether during tooth extraction.

In 1869, the practice of using Nitrous oxide and Oxygen as dental sedation was introduced by Andrews. Niels Bjorn Jorgensen also is known as Father of Intravenous Sedation in 1945, introduced the technique of administering various drugs in order to induce sedation through titration.

Before 1940, Cocaine was used to stimulate sedation. But it was very unpredictable and creating a correct dose was very difficult.

Dental Fear and Its Impact

Dental anxiety and torment are in mutual relationships with each other. Research has demonstrated that when you are terrified of something, even dental treatment, consequently your watchman goes up, and simultaneously, your torment limit goes down. In straightforward words in the event that you are foreseeing something excruciating you become excessively touchy to each movement even sound. Nervousness scores reach their peak value if a patient receives torment at his previous dental visit.

Meanwhile, dentally on edge patients felt more agony in the present horrible dental visits as contrasted to non-restless patients. If that happens to you the dentist dental specialist has exceptionally compelling methods for making you agreeable. He will give a sedative that will quiet you down and will stay made during the most confounded methods.

Sedative Agents To Choose From

Inhalation Conscious Sedation

Optimum use of Nitrous oxide by a dentist is worth mentioning. Though it is not as decent as an analgesic but works pretty firmly by turning one mood by alleviating anxiety.

In fact, it is also called ‘laughing gas’. It does not affect any normal body function. It is regulated in a brew with oxygen through a little face mask which is put over your nose. There is no aftereffect, as soon as the face cover is expelled impact destroys. This is the only type of sedation in which you are able to drive yourself home after the procedure.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation is also termed as “Pill Sedation”. The commonly used oral sedative is a type of Benzodiazepine (i.e. Valium, Halcion, Xanax, Ativan, and Versed) which decreases activity in the parts of the brain that control fear and anxiety. Oral tranquilizers can be used in two ways

  • By swallowing
  • By keeping it under tongue until the dissolution

Following are some advantages of using oral sedation:

  • No Needles
  • This type of sedation become a mainstream choice for some individuals who are afraid of needles
  • Safe to use

Both are very reliable and quick methods of sedation. A wide range of medicine is available for oral sedation. Your dentist will choose the best and suitable sedatives for you from the available options. All oral tranquilizers are approved by the FDA.

  • Easy to Handle

It is the easiest type of sedation; all you need to do is to swallow a pill an hour before the appointment.

  • Amnesic

It means after using a sedation pill you are cognizant throughout the treatment but you will remember virtually nothing of what occurred.

IV Conscious Sedation

IV conscious sedation is monitoring the process of sedatives inside the vein so that a patient can receive his dental treatment calmly and safely. IV Sedation is a lot more protective and increasingly satisfying semi-conscious condition of diminished nervousness. A good deal of training is required for the individuals who are going to manage it because you have to manage the checkup of not only the patient but also the hardware all through the sedation time frame.

The quick action property has a favorable position in that the sedation level can be continually managed while observing. You won’t recollect that anything after the sedation wears out.

But here is some other considering parameter

  • It is a more intense method and has a higher level of a hazard than oral and inhalation sedation.
  • It has a progressively significant amnesic effect too.
  • It has a quick impact on the body capacities (comprising basic parameters such as breathing, pulse, and circulatory strain)

Four Levels of Sedation:

Minimal Sedation

Also known as Anxiolysis. In this type of sedation, a person is awake but is relaxed. He/she is able to respond to a verbal command.

Moderate Sedation

Also referred to as Conscious Sedation. After this sedation, a person is awake and able to follow directions without anxiety or pain. This type of sedation makes a person remember little to none of the dental procedure. The medicine is given through a pill, shot, inhaled solution, or injection in moderate sedation.

Deep Sedation

It makes a person asleep and comfortable during a dental procedure. It also prevents the patient from remembering the procedure or treatment. A person can’t be easily woken up during deep sedation and need assistance to breathe. Just like moderate sedation it is also given to the patient in the form of a pill, shot, inhaled solution, or injection.

General Anesthesia

Under general anesthesia, a person doesn’t feel any pain because he/she is completely unconscious. The anesthetized brain doesn’t respond to pain signals or reflexes. A combination of medication is used in this type of sedation that puts a person in a sleep-like state.

Main Types of Sedation

Inhalation Sedation

It involves the inhalation of nitrous oxide combined with oxygen through a mask that’s placed over your nose. Dentists control the number of sedation patients receives and the gas wears off quickly. Inhalation sedation is the only form of sedation where a person is able to drive her/himself home after the procedure.

Oral Sedation

Sometimes inhalation sedation isn’t enough and the patient needs something stronger than nitrous oxide. Oral sedation ranges from minimum to moderate depending upon the dose. For minimum oral sedation, the patient is given a pill about an hour before the procedure. The pill will make you dozy, though you’ll still be awake. Halcion is used for minimal oral sedation.
In the case of Moderate oral sedation, a larger dose is given to the patients. It makes patients groggy enough that they actually fell asleep during the procedure and are awakened by a gentle shake.

IV Sedation

Also known as monitored anesthesia care or twilight sleep. This sedation relaxes the patient through an intravenous (IV) placed in a vein. It enters the bloodstream faster than other medications and allows the dentist to control its dosage.

Full Sedation

General or deep anesthesia that will make you either almost unconscious or completely unconscious. The patient can’t easily be woken until the effects of the anesthesia go off completely.

Sedation Dentistry Can Be Used For Several Dental Services:

Dental Implant Surgery

In this procedure, the tooth roots are replaced with metal screws like posts that have artificial teeth on it. These artificial teeth look and function like real teeth. The material used in artificial teeth is of the best quality and the teeth don’t decay like the natural teeth. This dental procedure involves several steps and is very usually complicated. To make it uncomplicated the patients are given anesthesia which makes them almost unconscious and the implant surgery went smoothly. However, some people are more anxious or nervous than others but luckily there are numerous ways to encounter their anxiety and make them feel better before and after surgery.

Oral Surgery

It is often used to repair fractured jaws and broken facial bones. IV sedation or intravenous sedation is usually given to the patients undergoing oral sedation. Patients do respond to verbal commands during the surgery but their brain numb enough to respond to the pain. Many patients won’t remember anything about the procedure performed under this anesthesia. Supplemental oxygen is also delivered through the nose during the surgery.

Bone Graft

A normal surgical procedure which is performed to substitute the bone loss in the jaw. It is normally done before dental implants.

Anesthesia or IV sedation is given to the patients during this procedure. Once the procedure is done patients have prescribed antibiotics, pain relievers, and antibacterial mouthwash to avoid any infection afterward. Instructions are also given to avoid certain food and putting pressure on the bone graft.

Gum Graft

Tissues from your palate or other parts of your inner mouth are taken and grafted into the gumline. For this dental procedure, anesthesia is a must. It helps to alleviate pain and calm you.

Periodontal Flap Surgery

People who have tartar deposits in deep pockets undergo flap surgery. It involves lifting the gums off of the teeth to remove tartar buildup. Once the tartar is removed, the gums are stitched back to their place in order to fit around the teeth. Anesthesia is given in combination with anti-anxiety medications to calm the patient during the surgery. Sometimes it is performed under intravenous conscious sedation. When the anesthesia has taken effect, a small incision is made in order to separate the gums from the teeth.

Benefits Of Sedation Dentistry

Anxiety Relief

One of the top benefits of sedation dentistry is that it calms down the patient by alleviating the anxiety. Anesthesia numbs the pain sensation and helps the person to get the necessary dental treatment. The fear of needles can still make many patients hesitate to undergo any dental treatment but thanks to sedation dentistry that lessens the patient’s anxiety and helps them improve the quality of life.

The pre-procedure anxiety and the thoughts that dental surgery will not go well prevents many people from receiving the dental care they need and make them worried. But as long as we have sedation dentistry say Goodbye to such thoughts and worriedness.

Anterograde Amnesia

Amnesia is not a good thing in daily life. It decreases the ability to retain new information. But in sedation dentistry Amnesia is a blessing in disguise. Sedation helps in forgetting the patient what happened recently by making them unconscious.

Many people are Dentophobic because they might have experienced some unpleasant events in their childhood and this fear grows with them by the passage of time. But sedation dentistry overcomes this phobia and stops the mind from creating any new memory. In this way, sedation helps patients to go fearlessly to dental clinics.

Reduction in Gag Reflex

Gag reflex occurs in the back of your mouth and is generated when your body wants to protect itself from swallowing foreign agents or substances. Generally, it is a good thing. However, it can be an obstacle when a patient knows that the dentist is working in his/her mouth. Sometimes the dental procedure requires that the dentist goes deep inside the oral cavity but due to the gag reflex a dentist can’t.

Sedation dentistry can be helpful in patients with sensitive gag reflexes. It helps them to relax and even doze during care without developing the undeniable need to choke and spit. Sedation also paralyzed the gag reflexes and let the dentist work faster and efficiently.

Pain Relief

Who would live with tooth and gum pain? But some people even prefer to live with this unbearable and annoying pain for the rest of their lives just because of the fear of dental procedures. Sedation dentistry is a ray of light as it eliminates pain completely. Sedatives make the brain totally numb. That’s the reason sedation is very popular these days because it provides pain-free dental care.

The Dentist Can Work Faster

Sedation dentistry provides a free hand to dentists to complete the process thoroughly. Because sedatives and anesthesia are so powerful and don’t let the patient squirming around in the chair during the surgery.

Dentists will work faster without being worried about the patient’s reaction to the procedure. In the very same way, it helps the patient a lot. So, if you are delaying your dental treatment just because of the nervousness, don’t do that.

Why Choose Our Practice

Care and Commitment

You will find professionals at our clinic who will take your oral health very seriously. We use advanced equipment which is designed with safety and efficiency in order to provide excellent care. As you walk across our office, you will notice that our ambiance is comfortable, clean, and sterilized. Clients safety and satisfaction is our first priority.


We are aware of the fact that many patients experience dental anxiety. It is very normal for us. We try our level best and do everything we can to make our clients’ experience enjoyable. Through communication, we tell our clients every single detail about dental treatment and alleviate their dental fear. We support and encourage you to bring headphones and music to listen during treatment. Your questions regarding dental sedation options will also be encouraged.

Personalized Service

For us, you aren’t just a patient. We care deeply about you and your oral health needs. At our place, you will find a friend in your dental professional rather than just a dentist.

Final Words

Sedation and sleep dentistry are generally considered safe and are effective ways to mitigate any fear or anxiety you have about seeing the dentist. At Coquitlam Dental Group, our passionate, dedicated and caring team knows that the dentist can invoke fear for a lot of patients, and take every measure to help make you feel comfortable and at ease at every step of the process. Call, message or reach out today to learn more about our sedation and sleep dentistry services or to schedule an appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Dental Sedation Safe for Children?

Yes, it truly is. Sedation dentistry is very safe and effective for children. It ensures that your child receives the dental treatment he or she needs to get oral health.

How Long Does Dental Sedation Last?

Although the effect of sedation lasts long after the procedure. Usually, it lasts from 2-8 hours. It also depends upon the type of drug administered.

How Does Sedation Feel?

Sedation effects differently on different people. Normally you will feel drowsiness and relaxation. Stress, negative emotions, anxiety also wards off with sedation. You may feel a tingling sensation across your body, especially in your arms, legs, hands, and feet.

Does Sedation Put You to Sleep?

No, it doesn’t. You are fully awake but less anxious. You will feel sleepy until the effects of sedation go off completely. IV sedatives also are known as anesthesia put you in different stages of consciousness.

Which Form of Sedation Is Most Common in Dentistry?

Nitrous oxide is most commonly used these days. Sedative pills are also used sometimes. Intravenous Sedation was common in the past but these days it is only used occasionally.

When Is Sedation Dentistry Especially Helpful?

Dental sedation not only assists in calming the patient in the dental chair but also helps the patients with over sensitive teeth or prone to gagging during dental procedures. If anesthesia doesn’t work to make your brain numb additional sedation will be provided which will be very effective.

How Long Does It Take to Wake up From Sedation?

Don’t expect to be fully awake after you were sedated. It may take a while to wake up completely from sedation. Usually it takes about 45 minutes to an hour to recover from general anesthesia.

Can You Eat and Drink Before Dental Sedation?

Don’t eat anything for 6 hours before appointment. Staying hydrated is very important after the treatment. Ask your dentist when you can eat after the procedure.

Why Should I Consider Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry provides you an opportunity to get the necessary dental care without concern for the pain and other distractions that are a hurdle in your treatment. Recent studies have shown that oral diseases are linked with heart diseases and they damage other organs of the body too. All of this now makes sense to take advantage of sedation dentistry, right?

Can My Dental Anxiety Be Cured with Sedation Dentistry?

Yes, it will definitely be cured. Sedation dentistry works as a magic pill for the patients who were even scared from the thought of sitting on a dental chair let alone dental procedures. Sedation makes them tolerate and undergo many types of dental procedures even without sedatives.

Talk With Us Today!

Eliminate dental anxiety when you visit us! Ask us how.

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