Dental Sedation Can Ease Dental Anxiety

Over 30 million people are so afraid of the dentist that they avoid even routine exams. Sedation dentistry can help ease these fears.


The most common type of sedation is nitrous oxide, commonly called laughing gas. It is inhaled through a mask over the nose and makes patients relaxed within minutes.

Nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a safe, effective sedative that can be used to calm anxiety and reduce pain for patients with dental anxiety. It is odorless and colorless and is delivered through a hood that fits over the nose. It is inhaled throughout the procedure and can be turned on and off if necessary. Unlike other sedatives, it does not cause a loss of consciousness and does not interfere with your ability to respond to questions from the dentist.

It takes effect within seconds and reaches the brain quickly, producing anesthesia [i] and relaxing effects. It is very useful in helping children stay calm and cooperative during dental treatment. It is also ideal for patients with dental phobias and/or anxieties.

Patients who choose to use nitrous oxide will need a friend or family member to drive them home after the appointment. Nitrous oxide is not a good option for people with high blood pressure or asthma because it can raise these conditions. It is important to follow the guidelines and recommendations for this type of sedation.

Nitrous oxide is a very safe sedative that can be used for patients with low to moderate anxiety. It is very popular in the dental field, as it is very affordable and easy to administer. However, it is not recommended for preteens because it may lead to a lack of coordination.

Oral sedation

This method of sedation is a great option for patients who have anxiety or fear when it comes to visiting the dentist or having medical procedures. This sedation is delivered via pill that is taken at home an hour before the appointment and can be used for minor to moderate dental work. It also helps to overcome a gag reflex that can occur during a procedure and make it more comfortable for the patient.

When patients choose oral sedation, they usually remember very little to nothing of the actual procedure after it is over. The dentist gives the patient a single dose of medication (usually Halcion) that belongs to the benzodiazepine family of drugs. The patient takes the sedative about an hour before the appointment and then feels relaxed, drowsy and calm. Patients are still aware and can respond to the dentist during their appointment, but often do not remember anything of what happens. Patients under minimal sedation are hooked up to equipment that monitors their breathing, heart rate and blood pressure during the procedure.

Before patients can receive sedation dentistry, they need to be fully informed about the risks involved. They will be given a form to read and sign that states that they understand the risks of the sedation. They should also tell the dentist about any other medications they are taking, as some medicines can interact with certain sedatives.

Intravenous sedation

Sedation dentistry allows patients to overcome their dental anxiety and get the treatment they need. It also allows dentists to perform procedures more quickly, because patients are more relaxed and docile. This can lead to less physical trauma and fewer complications. Sedation dentistry can also help prevent long-term oral health problems, such as gum disease and tooth infections, which have been linked to heart disease and diabetes.

IV sedation, also known as conscious intravenous sedation, is a sedative drug that is administered directly into the bloodstream. It is used to reduce anxiety, make the patient drowsy, and to alleviate pain. It is a deeper level of sedation than inhalation sedation. It is usually reserved for patients with significant dental fears and for longer or more complicated treatments. The sedative drugs can be adjusted during the procedure to ensure that patients remain in a deep but controlled state of consciousness. The sedative can be delivered via a small needle in a vein on the arm or hand. A numbing cream is often applied to the injection site for those who are afraid of needles.

It is important to bring someone with you to your appointment if you are receiving this type of sedation. You will feel groggy after the treatment and will need someone to drive you home. It is also a good idea to wear comfortable clothes and avoid tight clothes with binding waistbands or scratchy seams, as these can cause irritation.

Dental implants

Dental implants are one of the most popular and effective ways to replace missing teeth. They look and function like your natural teeth, but they are anchored to your jawbone with titanium posts. The implant procedure involves cutting your gums to access the bone, so you will probably feel some pain. You can alleviate the discomfort with prescription painkillers. However, you should call the dentist immediately if any symptoms develop.

Sedation dentistry can be especially useful for patients with hypersensitive teeth and gums. Sensitive teeth and gums can make it difficult to tolerate treatment, including instruments, suction, water spray, and other stimulation. Sedation allows them to relax and enjoy a more comfortable treatment experience.

Nitrous oxide has a rapid onset and offset, which makes it a safe and effective choice for dental sedation. It is also a good option for individuals who have a fear of the dentist, as it does not affect their memory or cognitive abilities. It does not interfere with driving or work activities, and it can be easily reversed when the mask is removed.

Regardless of the type of sedation used, you should provide your dentist with detailed medical history before the appointment. It is important to know if you have any chronic illnesses, which could slow healing after surgery. Also, tell your dentist if you are taking any medications, especially antibiotics, as they can affect the effectiveness of the sedation.