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Unveiling Sedation Dentistry: A Comprehensive Guide

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is a moderate type of sedation to keep you comfortable during dental procedures. Also known as conscious sedation, you are awake but relaxed and insensitive to pain. Sedation dentistry benefits children and those with dental anxiety, sensitive teeth, and more.

Types of Sedation Dentistry

Each type of sedation is given by a dentist or dental anesthesiologist certified to administer it. Your dentist will recommend the kind that is best for your dental needs. In most types, you’ll be advised not to eat or drink for six hours before the procedure.


Nitrous Oxide

  • Procedure: You inhale nitrous oxide through a mask. Also known as “laughing gas,” it can take effect within 5 minutes. Throughout the process, your dentist will adjust the dosages accordingly.
  • Recovery time: As soon as your dentist has you inhale pure oxygen through a mask, your body will flush the laughing gas out of your system in 15-30 minutes.

Sedation through Oral Medication

  • Procedure: You’ll be given a sedative you can take as a pill or other medicine. For children, liquid medicine is easier to swallow.
  • Recovery time: It may take 24 hours of full recovery. Having a trusted person drive you home after your dental appointment is recommended.

Intravenous Sedation

  • Procedure: The sedative is delivered through an IV line and into your bloodstream. Throughout the procedure, your dentist will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs. The dosage is adjusted accordingly.
  • Recovery time: It may take 24 hours of full recovery. Having a trusted person drive you home after your dental appointment is recommended.

Are You Awake During Dental Sedation?

You are awake during dental sedation unless general anesthesia is also recommended. With all the types of conscious sedation mentioned above, you are groggy but conscious and able to follow instructions. With general anesthesia, you are fully unconscious. General anesthesia is recommended for more complex dental procedures. 

Can You Feel Pain During Sedation Dentistry?

Due to sedation dentistry’s relaxing and groggy effect, you will not feel pain during the dental procedure. At the same time, your dentist will still administer local anesthesia after you are sedated to numb your teeth and gums. 

We’re Here to Help You

If you find it difficult to relax during your procedure, we are here to help. At Bellevue Dentist, Dr. Don Jayne is certified in sedation dentistry and is here to help you achieve healthy teeth at your comfort. Schedule an appointment today for your first step in your journey.

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