Sedation Dentistry


Nitrous Oxide Gas (laughing gas) is a safe and simple way of making patients feel more relaxed and non-apprehensive. Because the gas is quickly eliminated from the body, you can drive your car or work after the appointment.

Oral Sedatives (such as Valium) can also be used to decrease fear of dentistry. The medicine can be taken by mouth about an hour before the appointment. Nitrous oxide gas can be used in addition to the oral sedative. This option requires that you have a ride from a responsible adult to and from the office. You  should  not drive,  work  or operate  machinery until the next day.

Intravenous Conscious Sedation is the most predictable method of producing sedation A needle is placed in a vein and then  medications are administered. You will NOT be unconscious. As a  result  of your sleepy condition, special instructions before and after the procedure MUST be followed.

Types of pain-killing medications include:

  • Analgesics - These are also called pain relievers and include common non-narcotic medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin. Analgesics are usually used for mild cases of discomfort, and are typically prescribed following such procedures as a root canal or tooth extraction. Stronger analgesics are available by prescription.
  • Anesthetics - Anesthetics can either be topically applied, injected or both. Dentists often apply topical anesthetics with a cotton swab to an area of the mouth where a procedure such as a teeth cleaning will be performed. This numbs the affected area.  Topical anesthetics also are used to prepare an area for injection of an anesthetic. Septocaine and Lidocaine are the most common kind of injectable anesthetics. Such medications block the nerves from transmitting signals and are used for more major types of procedures, such as fillings, root canals or surgery.
  • Sedatives - Sedatives are medications designed to help a patient relax. This can be a powerful tool in avoiding pain. Sedatives are sometimes used in combination with other types of pain relievers and pain-killers. Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is a form of sedative. Conscious sedation involves administering a sedative while the patient is alert and awake. Deep sedation or general anesthesia involves administering a medication that places a patient in a state of monitored and controlled unconsciousness.

Sedatives can be administered three ways:

  • Intravenous (IV) sedation - Usually in the form of a tranquilizing agent; patients given IV sedation are often awake, but very relaxed.
  • Inhalation sedation - a form of sedation in which nitrous oxide is administered through a special mask.
  • Oral sedation or pill form - oral sedation can be given concurrently with Nitrous Oxide or IV sedation.