It’s an unfortunate fact that most of us shudder at the thought of scheduling a visit to the dentist. More often than not, we tend to attempt to grin and bear the pain of a toothache rather than sign up for an intimidating dental appointment. If you are a person who dreads the thought of pain at the dentist, sedation dentistry has the appropriate solution to your problem.

Nowadays, there are several sedation techniques which are incorporated into a variety of dentistry procedures, right from a simple tooth cleaning to more invasive procedures such as the root canal treatment. Sedation involves specific dosages of medication to help eliminate the patients’ anxiety and make them relaxed during the procedure.

Depending upon the seriousness of the dentistry procedure, the patient is administered with different levels of sedatives to ease their nerves.

Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Nitrous oxide sedation is a kind of inhalation sedation where the patient is kept conscious. Inhaling the nitrous oxide gas, colloquially referred to as laughing gas, induces a state of relaxation.

A mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen is administered via a nasal breathing apparatus. The analgesic and sedative effect of the gas keeps the patient relaxed for the duration of the dentistry procedure, after which the effect gradually wears off. With this sedation, patients will be able to drive home without any issues.

This kind of sedation is usually utilized for simple oral surgery and sometimes for more invasive procedures, such as the removal of a wisdom tooth or application of dental implants.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Sometimes, an overly anxious patient might require stronger sedation than nitrous oxide. Depending upon the duration and requirement of the dentistry procedure, the patient might be given oral medication, which offers sedation ranging from minimal to moderate.

In the case of minor procedures, the patient may be given minimal oral sedation with the help of a single pill such as Halcion about an hour prior to the actual procedure. The pill induces a state of drowsiness, and the patient can be easily awakened with a gentle nudge.

For more invasive procedures, the patient can be administered with a higher dose of the oral sedative to induce moderate sedation for a comparatively longer period. Under the effect of the oral sedation, many people can doze off into slumber for the duration of the procedure.

Intravenous Sedation

As the name suggests, intravenous sedation is a type of moderate sedation dentistry where the sedative drug is directly administered into the patient’s vein. A few of the most commonly used intravenous sedation drugs are opiate, benzodiazepine, diprivan, and ketamine. The optimum level of oxygen is also delivered through a nasal breathing mask.

Intravenous sedation helps the patient relax for the duration of the procedure. Although the patient might feel extremely groggy, they are able to understand and respond to the dentist’s request.

This type of sedation is appropriate for people who wish to avoid the discomfort of the vibrations and noise of the drill.


All of these sedation procedures are helpful in easing away the anxiety associated with dentistry procedures. It is important to consult with your medical practitioner about the prerequisites and after-effects of these sedation options.

Schedule a consultation to find out more about sedation – contact our office today. Dr. Dan Miller is an experienced cosmetic dentist and will be happy to answer questions.