Sedation Dentistry

What is Dental Sedation Therapy?

Some people get tense when they are at the dentist’s office. Sedation dentistry is used for this type of patient. A dental professional will administer medication that helps a patient relax while they are undergoing dental treatments and procedures. Unless the dentist uses general anesthesia to induce sleep, patients are typically awake, but generally more relaxed.

Levels of Sedation Therapy

There are different levels of sedation. Each person is different and requires more or less sedation to be comfortable. There are four basic levels of sedation a dental professional might discuss with a patient.

  • Minimally Sedated – the patient is still awake, but very relaxed.
  • Moderately Sedated – the patient is conscious but might not remember much of what happened during the procedure.
  • Deeply Sedated – the patient is right on the edge of being conscious, but can be awakened easily.
  • General Anesthesia – the patient is totally unconscious.

Common Types of Dental Sedation Measures

Sedation is administered in different ways, depending on the desired result. The minimally sedated patient typically inhales nitrous oxide, or laughing gas. This will help them relax, but it wears off quickly and they are able to drive themselves home.

Oral sedation can be anywhere from mild to moderate. A pill is taken to mildly sedate a patient. The pill makes them drowsy but they won’t go to sleep. For moderate sedation, a larger dose is given. A sedative can be administered through the vein. Deep sedation and general anesthesia are medications that put the patient into an unconscious state.