What Are The Different Types of Sedation Used By The Dentist?

If you are like some Americans, you may have an overwhelming feeling of fear when the dentist or any type of dental procedures are mentioned. Many people, in fact, go years without seeing a dentist due to their anxiety. Unfortunately, this means that their oral health diminishes and more extensive work needs to be done when they do finally schedule a visit to see a dentist!

Did you know that there is a very easy way to minimize or even eliminate fear of the dentist? It’s called: Sedation! Sedation can only be used by practitioners that have received additional training and certification, or by a licensed anesthesiologist.

From a lighter option like laughing gas, to full sedation, you have a range of options. At Magic Smiles we offer Nitrous and Oral Sedation while our sister company Kids Dental Center offers IV and deep sedation options.

Below is a description of different types of sedation. Read through and decide which one is best for you or your loved one and ask your dentist if they offer it for your next visit.

  • Nitrous Oxide (Also known as “laughing gas”) – This procedure is performed in office by a dentist. A mask is placed over your nose and you breathe in a combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen. You will be awake during the procedure and the doctor will have full control over how much or how little you may need at any given moment. The effects wear off quickly and this is the only form of sedation that you can typically drive yourself home after taking.
  • Oral Sedation – This procedure is performed in office by a dentist. The doctor will prescribe a sedation drug that you take before the procedure. He could also give you a larger dosage once you are in office depending on the person and circumstances. For children, there is a similar liquid they drink and are typically put into a quiet room. Whether adult or child, you can stay awake during the procedure but patients usually are so relaxed and become so groggy that they fall asleep.
  • IV Sedation – This procedure is done in office but only by a licensed anesthesiologist. This form of sedation is given intravenously through a vein. You typically will remain conscious during this procedure. However, the drugs used cause a partial or full memory loss during the time that the drug is administered. Many people do not remember anything that happened during their procedures and feel that they slept through the whole thing. Hence why some dentists call it the “sleep dentistry”.
  • Deep Sedation and General Anesthesia – This procedure must be performed in a hospital setting or surgical center just as any other surgical procedure and must be completed by a licensed anesthesiologist. For this type of sedation you will need to see a dentist that specializes in deep sedation. You will receive medications that will make you almost to totally unconscious. You cannot easily be awakened until the meds wear off or a reversal medication is administered. This procedure is typically reserved for only the most extensive dental cases.