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Sedation Dentistry

A significant number of Americans do not visit the dentist for regular checkups because they are too fearful or suffer from dental anxiety.  Sedation dentistry provides us the ability to work on patients who are afraid of the dentist.

At Smilearts dental, we offer IV sedation, which allows us to directly control the amount of sedation the patient experiences and also allows us to keep the patient sedated for a longer period of time. 

Here are some advantages associated with sedation dentistry:

  • Anxiety is alleviated.
  • More can be accomplished during each visit.
  • Great for gaggers or people who have TMJ problems. 
  • Procedures seem to take less time.
  • Amnesia so people don't remember the procedure

What kinds of sedatives are available?

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” is used as a mild sedative.  It is delivered through a nose hood, and is administered throughout the entire procedure.  Nitrous oxide elevates the general mood and can evoke a general sense of well-being.  Most importantly, it relieves anxiety and reduces pain during the procedure.  In addition, some tingling and numbness may be felt. There are few side effects associated with nitrous oxide, and it has been safely used in dentistry for many years.

IV conscious Sedation

Intravenous sedation allows most patients to truly sleep through their procedure. This is the same type of sedation that most out-patient procedures are done under.  It is administered via an IV into the bloodstream, which means the effects are immediate and the provider has direct control over the sedation.  Sometimes patients continue to feel groggy and sleepy when the IV sedatives are withdrawn.  This is why it is important to bring a designated driver for the drive home. 

Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral medication is provided prior to treatment in order to induce a moderate state of sedation.  Usually, a dose of medication is taken prior to the appointment, and then topped up during the procedure as required. This is a good choice for people who have really difficult veins and who are not a candidate for IV sedation. 

What types of drugs are used in conscious sedation?

Most of the drugs used in sedation dentistry are classified as benzodiazepines.  Benzodiazepines reduce anxiety, muscle spasms, insomnia and seizures.  Each medication has a different half-life, meaning that the effects last for varying amounts of time.  The estimated length of the procedure determines which type of drug is going to be most effective.


If you have questions or concerns about sedation dentistry, please contact our office.