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Sedation Dentistry

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is a broad term that includes any type of sedation used in dentistry to alleviate fear & anxiety. It is sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry”. Sedation dentistry is often used during long dental procedures that require an extensive amount of time in the treatment chair. Sedation dentistry is ideal for patients who have dental anxiety, a strong gag reflex, or those who simply wish to have more extensive dental treatment in a shorter time and with fewer appointments.


Who Is Sedation Dentistry Good For?

Sedation dentistry is ideal for people who:

  • Have anxiety when it comes to going to the dentist
  • Have a low pain threshold
  • Don’t feel comfortable in the dentist’s chair for long appointments
  • Have very sensitive teeth
  • Have a bad strong gag reflex
  • Hate the noise or smell associated with dental treatment
  • Need a large amount of dental work completed
  • Don’t have time for multiple appointments to complete complex treatments


What are the Benefits of Sedation Dentistry?

  • Dental treatment with very little or no stress
  • More treatment in fewer dental visits
  • Little to no memory of the dental appointment
  • Low to no pain
  • Saves you time


What Types of Sedation Are Used in Dentistry?

The following types of sedation are used in dentistry:


Nitrous Oxide

Is a form of light sedation whereby you breathe nitrous oxide -otherwise known as “laughing gas”- combined with oxygen through a mask that is placed over your nose. The gas helps you relax. Your dentist can control the amount of sedation you receive, Nitrous oxide is the lightest level of sedation, and is eliminated from the body almost immediately after a patient stops inhaling the gas. The patient is able to drive to and from the office themselves.



Is a form of minimal oral sedation using only one type of sedative medication, typically Halcion (Triazolam). Halcion is a member of the same drug family as Valium, and it’s usually taken about an hour before the procedure. The pill will make you drowsy and relaxed, although you’ll still be responsive. Because the medication lingers for several hours, someone will need to drive you to and from the office.


Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral sedation is a more moderate form of oral sedation than anxiolysis. Like with Anxiolysis, Halcion is used, but typically in larger doses and in combination with other medications in the same family of drugs. This is the type of sedation most commonly associated with sedation dentistry. Some people become groggy enough from moderate oral sedation to actually fall asleep during the procedure. They usually can, though, be awakened with a gentle shake. Most people have very little memory of their dental procedure afterwards, as the medications have an amnesic affect. During Oral Sedation, the patient is continually monitored using a device that measures heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygen levels. As with Anxiolysis, someone will need to drive you to and from the office.


IV Sedation

This is an even deeper level of sedation than oral sedation. You receive the sedative drugs through a vein, so it goes to work very quickly. You will get medications that will make you totally unconscious -deeply asleep- during the procedure. While you are under IV sedation, you cannot easily be awakened until the effects of the anesthesia are reversed with other medications. You will be thoroughly monitored throughout the procedure, and someone will have to drive you to and from the office.

Regardless of which type of sedation you receive, you’ll also typically need a local anesthetic -numbing medication at the site where the dentist is working in the mouth- to relieve pain if the procedure causes any discomfort.


Cost of Sedation Dentistry

The cost of sedation dentistry varies depending on the type of sedation used , length of the appointment, and monitoring devices used. Simple sedation with Nitrous Gas or Anxiolysis can cost as little as $150 per visit, while deeper IV sedation can cost over $1,000 per visit.

When you come to our office for a consultation, your treatment options, sedation options and costs will be discussed with you in depth. We will arrange your treatment plan to best fit your budget, and even arrange for financing if desired.