Is Sedation Dentistry Right for You?

Many of us learned at a young age what happens if we do not take the threat of tooth decay seriously.

Most often it is the experience of getting a cavity filled that makes us realize how important it is to maintain good oral health. 

If we hear stories about rotting and decaying teeth followed by painful procedures as a result of not taking dental care seriously, this fear can follow us into adulthood.  

Dentists today do their best to quell childhood fears to help patients receive the dental care they need.

Seeing a dentist can be a terrifying experience for most people, with a small portion of the population so struck by anxiety that they avoid going to a dentist completely.

But when push comes to shove, you may need to have a dental procedure for your continued well-being despite this fear. 

Thankfully, you do not need to suffer through all the discomfort stemming from visiting the dentist.

This is where sedation dentistry comes in to save the day. Dentists, such as the professionals at Napa Family Dental in Albuquerque, will use medicine to help you calm your nerves and ensure a smooth dental procedure.

It is the optimal option available for individuals who may otherwise see their dental health neglected due to fears out of their control.  

Types of Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry is sometimes also known as sleep dentistry. However, not all forms of sedation dentistry will put you to sleep; some merely leave you drowsy. 

The purpose of sedation dentistry is to use medicine to help you relax during your dental


These medications are safe to use, even for children. To ensure that you have a smooth experience, please seek a dentist that is properly qualified and has relevant experience. 

A common form of sedation used is nitrous oxide or laughing gas. While you will be awake during the procedure, nitrous oxide makes sure you feel less pain and discomfort. It also wears off very quickly. 

Other sedatives may take the form of pills to be taken orally. These take longer to kick in than nitrous oxide but also tend to keep you awake.

However, you will most likely not remember anything about the dental treatment once it is completed.

Sedatives may also be administered intravenously. These medications are usually stronger and vary in their effects on your consciousness.

General anesthesia will put you to sleep completely and is administered by intravenous injection.  

Before and After

It would be best to have a long and detailed discussion with your dentist before settling on sedation dentistry.

You should ask your dentist any questions you might have and do not be afraid to analyze all your options.

There are, of course, side effects to any medication, and these should be considered even as an aid for the actual dental procedure to be carried out.

Options such as nitrous oxide and oral sedatives require minimum preparation on your end. You may have to fast the night before your procedure if you require other forms of sedation. 

With laughing gas, you will be allowed to leave soon after and even drive yourself home. However, other methods take longer to wear off, and you may have to arrange transport and accompaniment for the trip home. 

Be aware that you may experience nausea or discomfort due to the sedation. As such, you probably do not want to be rushing to work after an intensive dental procedure with sedation involved. 

Advantages of Sedation Dentistry

In most cases of routine dental care, sedation dentistry is not required. However, should you experience acute anxiety or phobia regarding dental procedures, it can also be offered to you as needed. 

Sedation dentistry is ideal for long and intensive treatment plans such as root canals and dental extractions. 

You may also request sedation if you have a low pain threshold or are sure that you will be unable to sit still for your procedure. 

Other physical aspects may also require you to be sedated. This includes having sensitive teeth or oral nerves or having a small mouth. 

If you are resistant to local anesthetics, sedation would be your best bet for pain management. 

Beyond physical barriers such as those mentioned above, you may also benefit from sedation dentistry if you have the following experiences. 

  • Negative past dental experiences
  • Phobias regarding dental work
  • General anxiety disorder
  • Fear of pain or choking
  • Discomfort with the sights and sounds associated with a dentist

office or chair

No matter what procedure you need, sedation dentistry can calm your fears and anxieties that might be preventing you from receiving the dental treatments you need.