Going to the dentist can be an anxiety-inducing experience, especially if you’re preparing for a major procedure. But the days of painful dental treatments are long gone. Sedation dentistry ensures you don’t feel a thing!

If you’re about to undergo dental surgery or an in-depth procedure, you’ll want to learn more about sedation dentistry. After all, knowing what to expect is a great way to reduce any feelings of anxiety.

Without further ado, let’s talk about sedation dentistry and what you can expect before your next trip to the oral surgeon!

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is the practice of using medication during dental procedures to help keep patients feeling relaxed. It’s a helpful tool that’s often used during major dental procedures or oral surgeries.

When Is Sedation Dentistry Recommended?

Generally, sedation dentistry isn’t recommended for standard cleanings. That’s because cleanings don’t typically cause any pain. That said, patients can request sedation before any dental procedure.

After all, if you’re panicking while the dentist is working, you may accidentally harm yourself. Remaining calm while in the dentist’s chair is crucial to enjoying a fast and effective treatment.

As such, sedation dentistry is often used to assist with:

  • Oral Surgeries
  • Root Canals
  • Anxiety
  • Comprehensive Procedures

Let’s take a moment to discuss why sedation is significantly beneficial in these situations. That way, you’ll feel more confident about discussing your sedation options with your dentist or oral surgeon.

Oral Surgeries

Oral surgery services range from wisdom tooth extractions to dental implants. These services differ from standard dental procedures, as they often require anesthetics, surgical experience, and specialized equipment.

Because the typical oral surgery involves cutting into sensitive skin and tissue, oral surgery sedation is crucial. In fact, some of the most powerful sedatives and anesthetics are used for these procedures.

Root Canals

When a cavity is allowed to worsen, or your tooth gets cracked and starts collecting bacteria, a root canal can help turn things around for the better. Any harmful plaque or infection can get cleaned away during a root canal.

After that, your dentist can seal the tooth to prevent further problems. But to reach your tooth’s pulp, your dentist may need to drill into the affected tooth or shave a part of it away. This can be painful.

Fortunately, sedation dentistry ensures that root canals are no longer pain-inducing and uncomfortable. An appropriate sedative could leave you feeling nothing but slight pressure throughout the entire procedure.

So while you’re filling out that new patient information form before your root canal procedure, consider asking your dentist about your sedation options.


One of the most common uses for sedation dentistry is combating dental phobias and anxieties. Now, it’s normal to feel a little anxious before an upcoming dental procedure or exam.

But when that fear becomes unbearable, sedative assistance is often necessary. Patients should never be ashamed of asking for sedation before a procedure, especially if they’re feeling intensely anxious.

Comprehensive Procedures

Comprehensive procedures that involve multiple teeth or in-depth work can take several hours to complete. Asking a patient to prop their mouth open during all that time might be a bit much.

As such, longer dental procedures tend to rely on sedation methods to keep patients comfortable and relaxed. General anesthesia, for example, could keep you unconscious throughout the whole ordeal.

Types of Sedation

There are a few major types of sedatives that dentists and oral surgeons use to help keep patients calm and pain-free. Some of the most common and effective of these include:

  • General Anesthesia
  • Oral Sedation
  • IV Sedation
  • Nitrous Oxide Gas

Before you undergo a major procedure, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with these options. That way, you can select or request a sedation method that best fits your needs and preferences.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is an intensely powerful form of sedation. It knocks you unconscious, preventing you from feeling any pain. But it can also leave you feeling groggy, nauseous, or confused when you wake up. 

To put you under, an anesthesiologist will typically place an IV into your arm or hand. This IV will contain potent drugs to make you fall unconscious. From that point, your dentist or surgeon will quickly get to work.

This option is typically reserved for those with extreme anxiety, including young children. However, oral sedation is far more common, as it provides a fast and non-invasive solution to IV-based sedation methods.

Oral Sedation

Anxiety-reducing drugs, such as Valium, can be used to help dental patients relax before a procedure. This type of sedation is called oral sedation dentistry or oral conscious sedation.

That’s because the provided medication won’t put you to sleep. Instead, it will simply relax you to the point of being able to undergo your necessary procedure. Oral sedation for root canal procedures is fairly common.

Still, some patients may not be able to take an oral sedative, or their sedative may require too much time to take hold. In this case, your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend a local anesthetic or IV sedation. 

IV Sedation

This type of intravenous sedation can help calm a patient’s nerves. It’s similar to general anesthesia, except that patients remain conscious throughout their procedure.

That’s because an IV sedation pumps calming medications directly into a patient’s bloodstream, quickening their effects. This solution is an excellent solution for those with moderate levels of anxiety.

Nitrous Oxide Gas

If you’re feeling anxious about a root canal, filling, or tooth extraction, your dentist may offer nitrous oxide gas. This gas, commonly called laughing gas, has a mild effect that tends to wear off quickly after a procedure.

This solution is often combined with other forms of anesthetic, especially when patients are undergoing oral surgeries or root canals. It’s primarily helpful in helping patients relax, though it can also numb painful sensations.

Dental Surgery Doesn’t Have to Be a Pain

The idea of someone performing surgery on the inside of your mouth can make you cringe. But sedation dentistry ensures that patients don’t feel a thing during their procedures.

There are several types of anesthetics, and the best one for you depends on the type of procedure you’re undergoing, as well as your preferences and needs. Be sure to ask your oral surgeon or dentist about sedation methods.

If you’re looking for a professional and experienced oral surgeon, be sure to request a consultation today! We look forward to answering any questions you may have.