Many people feel terribly anxious at the dentist’s office, and the thought of dental procedures of
any kind makes matters much worse. So, if you are one of those people who get very nervous
at the sight of needles and surgical equipment, then sedation dentistry might be the best
solution for you.
Here is a list of frequently asked questions regarding sedation dentistry. Hopefully, after reading
them, you will have all the necessary information and, hence, feel more comfortable going in for
your next dental procedure in case you need one.
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is for patients who have a particular fear or anxiety related to anything dental.
As the name implies, the patients are sedated (medicated) before the procedure to make them
relax and to get them through their procedures painlessly.
Who should get sedation dentistry?
Anyone can opt for sedation dentistry. However, it is recommended for those who have;
A fear of anything dental
Anxiety about dentistry
A tough time controlling bodily movement
A sensitive gag reflex
A fear of needles
What are the benefits of sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry offers the following benefits to patients;
Creates a comfortable and relaxed dental experience
Little to no anxiety or fear during the procedure
It helps control gag reflex
Saves time by allowing longer procedures to be completed in a single visit
What are the common types of sedation?
Generally, there are four common ways to sedate a patient at the dentist’s office. These include;
Oral sedation – the sedative is given as a pill that you ingest orally.
Intravenous (IV) sedation – the sedative is administered through an injection to a vein in
Inhalation sedation – You inhale the nitrous oxide sedative through a mask.
General Anesthesia – Unlike the other sedation methods that keep you somewhat
conscious, general anesthesia will put you to sleep for the duration of the procedure.
Does sedation dentistry imply that I will be completely unconscious?
No, it does not. It all depends on the kind of sedation the dentist recommends. Generally, you
are only entirely unconscious if you are under general anesthesia. Patients maintain some level
of consciousness during oral, inhalation and intravenous sedation.
What is deep sedation?
Most people confuse deep sedation with general anesthesia. This is not true. Deep sedation is a
state of depressed awareness. During deep sedation, patients have a minimal consciousness of
what is happening around them, but they are not entirely unconscious as in general anesthesia.
Will I feel pain during my treatment?
If you have been sedated before the procedure, you won’t feel pain. That goes for oral,
inhalation, intravenous and general anesthesia.
How much time does the sedation take to wear off?
Dental sedation usually starts to wean off after thirty or so minutes after the procedure.
However, it might take you a few hours to become fully alert. Hence, it is highly recommended
that someone accompany you during the procedure.
Are there any side effects that I need to know about?
Sedation dentistry is considered a very safe approach. Nevertheless, as with many things
medical, sedation is known to cause some side effects after it starts to wear off. Common side
effects that are witnessed include;
Will I have memory of my treatment?
Well, it depends on the kind of sedation you were given. If you are general anesthesia, then you
won’t remember anything. As for other types of sedation that put you in a very relaxed state, it is
unlikely that you will remember anything substantial and have little to no memory of the
Will I be groggy or dizzy after the treatment?
In all likelihood, yes, you will experience some grogginess or dizziness as the sedation wears
off. For some people, the effects of sedation are gone in a few hours; for others, it might take
longer for the effects to disappear completely.
Will I need someone to accompany me?
Yes, if you are being sedated for your dental procedure, you should bring someone to at least
drop and pick you up from the dentist’s office. It will not be entirely safe for you to drive or travel
alone after the procedure.
Can children get sedation dentistry?
Yes, it is considered safe for children to go through sedation dentistry. If your child’s dentist
suggests some form of sedation for your child, then there is no harm in going for it. A dentist
may recommend sedation to a child for several reasons, such as:
Children with special needs
Children with a tremendous fear of dental procedures.