Sedation Dentistry FAQs

We invite you to read the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from our patients about sedation dentistry and helping them to relax during their dental appointment.

While some dental procedures are done under general sedation as a routine, sedation dentistry refers to the possibility of sedatives being used for any dental procedure. The options for the patient range from anti-anxiety drugs to general sedation (being asleep during the procedure.) Sedation with less invasive dental procedures can help patients who have dental anxiety, a bad gag reflex or who just would like a little help in relaxing while they are in the dentist’s chair.

Anti-anxiety medications can help you relax, while you stay completely alert. This is the mildest form of sedation.

Nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” relaxes you and is frequently used in dentistry. It is inhaled, but wears off quickly. If you opt for nitrous oxide sedation, you usually don’t need someone else to drive you home.

Deeper levels of sedation are usually administered intravenously. This includes general anesthesia, which makes you sleep through the procedure.

Local anesthetics are often used along with sedation. We want to be sure that your experience is as relaxing and pain-free as possible.

Gag reflex is another common problem. It involves an uncontrollable reaction to anything getting near the back of the throat. You gag automatically because it is the body’s way of rejecting foreign objects it senses are trying to get into the throat. A gag reflex is not necessarily a sign of nerves, but the fact that you have one can make you even more nervous and frustrated during dental visits. Sedation techniques can help relax your muscles and calm you so the gag reflex may be reduced.

Dental anxiety is more than just being afraid; for many people it is a serious problem that actually keeps them from going to the dentist, which leads to problems with their oral health. We offer sedation dentistry as a way to ensure patients that they are not alone in their dental anxiety and that there is a way to conquer it. No one should be embarrassed by having dental anxiety, in fact, it’s estimated that about 25 million people in the United States have it. That’s why sedation dentistry exists.