How to Choose the Type of Sedation During a Trip to the Dentist’s Office

Photo of sedation types dentist visit LocateADocMany people find that something as simple as a visit to the dentist can be a stressful experience. It can elevate their blood pressure and bring on a bout of anxiety. Some people even go so far as to skip important dental appointments, which can aggravate areas of concern and lead to even greater health issues.

Fortunately, today’s dental offices are offering patients a new option to lessen their discomfort or flat-out fears of the dentist. Whether for a simple cleaning and check-up or for a complex oral surgery procedure, patients can choose from a variety of sedation choices to make the process less intimidating or traumatizing.


The inhalation of nitrous oxide, known commonly as laughing gas, is considered to be a minimal form of sedation that helps patients relax. This may be a good choice for you if you are having a minimally invasive procedure. Because it wears off so quickly, patients are often permitted to drive following their appointment.


There are a number of prescription medications, in the form of pills, which can be given to make a patient feel drowsy. The level of drowsiness can vary - some patients remain awake and are very relaxed, while others may cause a deep sedation and patients fall asleep during the procedure.


With this, a sedative drug is administered through a small IV, which means it flows directly into the blood stream and takes almost immediate effect. The dentist has complete control over the level of sedation and may adjust it as needed throughout the procedure. Afterwards, the patient may feel as if he or she has fallen asleep and will often be groggy.

General Anesthesia

This dentistry option is the same utilized by surgeons in other medical fields and may leave the patient completely unconscious. Patients may be unconscious for an extended period of time if the dental team decides to allow the effects to wear off naturally, though in many cases they will administer medication to reverse the effects of the anesthesia instead.

To learn more about oral health dentistry procedures, check out our resources section.

Further Reading

  • While the economy is still pulling itself out of a recession, many Americans are holding off on cosmetic work including cosmetic dentistry procedures. Unlike some plastic surgery procedures that have low-cost alternatives, cosmetic dentistry procedures such as veneers and orthodontics come at a hefty price.

  • For the thousands of Americans  considering plastic or cosmetic surgery in 2010, procedure such as tummy tucks, breast implants and Botox treatments are surprisingly lower on the list than teeth whitening.

  • Dr. Nick Mohindra, a London dentist, has invented a plastic mouthguard called the Oralift that’s designed to help patients look younger by sculpting the facial tissues and increasing the strength of the jawline and facial muscles. The Oralift mouthguard is placed in a microwave to soften the plastic and then fitted to the lower teeth. The mouthguard helps to prevent the grinding of teeth and also helps to stretch the freeway space between the back teeth so that the facial muscles become stronger.