What Happens During Dental Sedation?

Dental SedationWhether you are there for an annual cleaning or a root canal, you may find yourself full of anxiety every time you walk into a dentist's waiting room. If you are one of the 30 to 40 million individuals who suffer from dental anxiety, there is an answer for you: dental sedation. Sedation dentistry, also known as “sleep dentistry,” is a way to manage dental-related pain and anxiety through medication.

What is Dental Sedation?

Dental sedation” covers multiple levels of sedation, depending on the type of procedure you're having and how anxious you are. The levels of sedation are minimal sedation, moderate sedation, and deep sedation (which often includes general anesthesia). Not all dentists offer sedation dentistry, so it may be necessary for a patient to request it specifically from their doctor, or to see a specialist.

Minimal Sedation

Under minimal sedation, you will be conscious and aware, but you will relax. Minimal sedation will not “put you to sleep,” but it will take away much or all of your anxiety. Minimal sedation most commonly refers to the inhaling of nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. After minimal sedation with nitrous oxide, you will recover quickly and be able to drive yourself home.

Another form of minimal dental sedation is administered through oral sedation. Frequently this is through the ingestion of “Halcion,” a Valium-like pill that will make you tired and help you relax. After the procedure, you will need someone else to drive you home.

Moderate Sedation

Under moderate sedation, you will feel sleepy and you will relax. You may have limited memories of the procedure and you may not be able to speak properly for some time. You may also slur your words when you speak.

Moderate sedation can be achieved through larger doses of an oral sedative, such as the above-mentioned Halcion. An IV can also work with moderate sedation, which will speed up the effects. After any moderate sedation, you will need a ride home.

Deep Sedation

Under deep sedation, you will fall asleep. It is unlikely that you will have much of a memory of the procedure that you went under. You can wake up if someone attempts to awake you, but it will be difficult.

Deep sedation often results from a combination of medications or through general anesthesia. It is often a recommendation for more significant oral work, such as the extraction of wisdom teeth or the placement of implants. A deep sedation will take some time to wake up from and will require that you have a friend or family member take you home.

For any type of sedation dentistry, a local anesthetic will usually be necessary. Patients will have some time for both local anesthetic and sedation to take effect. From there, they will complete the dental and the patient will slowly recuperate and wake up with the medications.

Dental sedation is appropriate for those who have dental-related anxiety or those who have sensitive teeth or a low pain threshold. Through sedation, patients can “go to sleep” before the procedure and wake up with it already completed.


For more information about dental sedation or to schedule an appointment with Dennis Baik, DDS, request an appointment in our San Jose dental office here: https://www.ddsbaik.com. Or call us at (408) 676-5321.

Related Posts

Oral Sedation Side Effects

As you may know, when you undergo dental work, oral surgeons use sedatives to make the process easier. These sedatives have an incredibly relaxing effect, which puts most patients at ease and allows the oral surgeon to do their work. In other cases, a patient may need to be asleep for a portion of the…

Sedation Dentistry FAQ's

 What is sedation dentistry?Sedation dentistry is necessary in cases of more severe tooth damage and involves sedatives. These sedatives will numb the pain during dental treatment. Sedation dentistry may be necessary during the removal of a tooth or other surgeries which can potentially cause large amounts of pain. Sedation dentistry can also provide a patient…

Drugs Used In Sedation Dentistry

As a dental practice, we offer sedation dentistry to patients who struggle with dental anxiety or other issues. We understand how some people who fear the very notion or sound of a dental drill will avoid any checkups like the plague. In some cases, people will avoid treatment and let their teeth continue to suffer…

Why Sedation Dentistry Is Safe

Merely hearing the word dentist can frighten some people. Far too often, people build a negative view of the dentist from one uncomfortable or negative experience. Fortunately, we provide safe dentistry and take time to truly listen to our patients and their needs. Even if the main question becomes "Is dentistry safe?" We can answer…

Related Posts

A Dental Veneer &#    ; Solution For A Broken Tooth

A Dental Veneer - Solution For A Broken Tooth

If you have a broken tooth, a dental veneer can restore it effectively. Veneers are thin shells that a dentist can bond to the front of your tooth. This tooth restoration method can bring back the appearance of your natural tooth. A dental veneer can be made of either resin or porcelain. If you want…

Full Mouth Reconstruction Procedures To Rebuilding Damaged Teeth

Full Mouth Reconstruction Procedures To Rebuilding Damaged Teeth

A full mouth reconstruction may be life-changing for patients who have low self-esteem due to their smiles. Many patients first come into the office because they are embarrassed about their teeth or how their smile looks. We recognize that it takes a lot of thought and bravery to step through our doors, and we want…