Dental Sedation – What Types of Dental Sedation Are Available?

Dental sedation can help you feel calm, relaxed and comfortable during your treatment. It can help you overcome anxiety or fear and get the care you need for a healthy smile.


Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is the lightest form of sedation used in dentistry. It is administered through a small mask over the nose and works quickly.

Nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide is the most commonly used dental sedation technique. Also known as laughing gas, this sedative is safe for children and adults of all ages. It works quickly to relieve anxiety and pain, but it does not put you to sleep. This is a great option for those who are afraid of the dentist, but are not nervous enough to benefit from more profound sedation techniques like intravenous or oral conscious sedation.

The nitrous oxide is inhaled through a nose “hood” that delivers a custom combination of the gas and oxygen to ensure maximum comfort. This hood has flow meters and pressure gauges to allow your dentist to monitor the levels of sedation at all times. Nitrous oxide is a fast-acting sedative that begins to take effect in 20-30 seconds and reaches its full effects within five minutes. The sedation is turned off at the end of your appointment and you will breathe pure oxygen for 5 minutes to help flush out any remaining nitrous oxide from your system.

Patients who choose nitrous oxide should bring a trusted friend or family member to drive them home after their dental appointment. This is to ensure that the patient has a safe and secure way home and can rest while the sedative wears off. As with other forms of sedation, it is important to wait at least 24 hours before driving after your procedure.

Oral sedation

Oral sedation, also known as pill sedation, is a form of sedation dentists use for patients who need light to moderate sedation. This technique involves taking a pill about an hour before your appointment that makes you drowsy and relaxed. Unlike nitrous oxide, which is inhaled, oral sedation requires that you have someone drive you to and from your appointment.

The drug used in oral sedation is typically triazolam (Halcion), a short-acting benzodiazepine with anxiolytic, hypnotic, and amnesic properties. Because it has a quick onset and short half-life, we can control the dose to produce minimal to moderate sedation. Patients with dental anxiety and/or a low pain tolerance can benefit from this method of sedation. However, it is important to note that patients under this form of sedation may not remember the dental procedure afterward.

After your sedation appointment, your dentist will check your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure to make sure everything is normal before you head home. Be sure to have a friend or family member ready to take you home, and avoid working or participating in intense physical activity until the effects of oral sedation wear off. Occasionally, lingering side effects from oral sedation include drowsiness, nausea, headaches, or a general feeling of sluggishness. This is normal and should subside as the drug wears off.

Intravenous sedation

Sedation can be used in combination with local anesthetic to provide a safe, effective dental treatment. It may be performed in a hospital or dental surgery, cosmetic clinic or other specialised facility. It is important to find out how much training your dentist has in sedation and how many procedures they have carried out using this technique. You should also be provided with a form detailing the risks involved in this procedure. Read it carefully and ask questions if anything is unclear.

Your dentist will use an intravenous (IV) line to deliver the sedative directly into your bloodstream. A thin needle is inserted into a vein in your arm or the back of your hand, and the sedative is administered through a tube connected to the IV. This method is often preferred over oral sedation because the dentist can continually control the level of sedation throughout the process. You will be in a conscious state of reduced anxiety and remain aware of what is going on around you, but you may not remember everything that happened.

If you decide to have this form of sedation, you should arrange for someone to drive you to and from your appointment. You should avoid consuming food or drink for 6-8 hours before the procedure and stop taking any medication unless it has been prescribed by your doctor.

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If you have dental anxiety, sedation dentistry is an excellent option. Not only does it make your appointment more pleasant, but it also allows you to get the treatment you need without having to postpone appointments due to fear or discomfort.

There are several different types of sedation available, including minimal sedation, oral sedation, and intravenous sedation. During your consultation, we will determine the best option for you based on your needs and medical history. It is important to inform us of any medications you are taking, as well as your allergies. We will also ask you to provide a ride home after the procedure, as it takes a few hours for the effects of the sedation to wear off.

Nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas,” is a mild inhaled sedative that is used to reduce fears and anxiety during dental procedures. It is delivered through a small mask over your nose, which will leave as soon as we remove it. With nitrous oxide, you can remain awake and responsive.

Oral sedation involves taking a pill, typically Halcion (a member of the Valium family), about an hour before your appointment to create a drowsy state. Depending on the dosage, it can range from minimal to moderate sedation, but you will be awake and able to respond to our instructions.