Dental Sedation

Treatments of dental problems could be painful. Even when they are not, the sight of pins and the thought of sharp objects piercing through the teeth and gum might be fearful. Unfortunately, many dental treatments require the patients to be still. That is why it is necessary for dental patients to find ways to properly manage their fears and panic during treatments. One effective way of doing this is by dental sedation. What exactly is dental sedation, and how can it help you?

What is Dental Sedation?

Sedation is a medical procedure that helps to decrease consciousness, usually done before a painful procedure. The aim is to prevent the feeling of pain and discomfort. Dental sedation is administered by dentists to make their patients relax and comfortable during a dental procedure. In most cases, you will be conscious of what is going on around you. Also, you will be able to answer questions, obey instructions, and provide your opinion. However, you will not feel pain or discomfort. Hence you will be able to stay still if it is required. Dr. Ogata a Kahului dentist adds that this allows you to get more treatments done at once.

Types of Dental Sedation

Sedation dentistry is classified according to how the sedation is administered. There are three types of dental sedation. They are:

  • Oral Sedation
  • Inhalation Sedation
  • Intravenous Sedation

As the name implies, oral dental sedation is administered orally. Your dentist would have instructed you beforehand about how to prepare for the procedure. The effect of oral dental sedation usually lasts between four to ten hours. That means that you will still be fully active hours after the procedure. Hence you must have a companion with you who will drive you back home.

Inhalation dental sedation is usually used for a mild dental treatment as its effect does not last for long. It goes away almost immediately after the procedure. Inhalation dental sedation consists of nitrous oxide, commonly called laughing gas. It is administered together with oxygen with an inhaler mask. It has a similar effect as oral sedation in that you will be cautious of what the dentist is doing, but you won’t feel any pain.

Intravenous dental sedation or IV sedation is administered into your veins. Its effects can last for up to 24 hours. Within that time, you will be relaxed but conscious of your environment. You will not be able to drive yourself home or do anything stannous throughout the day. Therefore, you must be accompanied to the clinic and be driven back home.

How Dental Sedation Works

Irrespective of the method you’re the dental sedation is administered. They all work in a similar way. Dental sedation slows down brain activity. This is done by increasing the production of the neurotransmitter that communicates with some nerve cells in the brain and slows down brain activities. When there is reduced activity in the brain, the body will be relaxed, anxiety will be temporarily suppressed, so will feelings of pain.

Many patients usually ask if dental sedation will make them sleep. Luckily, most dental treatments can be done under conscious sedation. That means you don’t need to sleep, and the sedation will certainly not make you sleep. However, you will be properly monitored to be sure you are fine. If you are given IV dental sedation, it is crucial that someone stays with you for at least 24 hours to keep an eye on you. It is also important for you to refrain from any activity that requires full cautiousness, like driving and machine operation, until you are sure you have fully strong again.

Who Needs Dental Sedation?

Dental sedation may be necessary for any painful dental procedure and procedures that require the patient to stay calm and still. People who also have a phobia for dental treatments, especially for sharp objects piercing through their bodies, may also use dental sedation to overcome their fear. Children and infants may also benefit from dental sedation as they may not be able to cope with the pains of dental treatment without sedation.

Some people have sensitive teeth. Such patients can use dental sedation to avoid pain.Your dentist will likely recommend dental sedation if you need any of the following procedures:

  • Wisdom Tooth removal
  • Dental Bridges
  • Cosmetic White Fillings
  • Bone Grafting
  • Dental Implants
  • Dental Braces
  • Jaw Surgery

However, it is important to discuss with your doctor beforehand the type of sedation that will be administered and the best way to prepare for it.

Will Dental Insurance Cover Dental Sedation?

Many patients do ask if their insurance will cover dental sedation. Of course, it will depend on the type of your dental insurance and its coverage. However, dental sedation is part of a dental procedure. Hence many dental insurance policies will cover it. Certainly, your dentist will not administer dental sedation if you don’t need it. Notwithstanding, it is always good to check with your dental insurance company if you are in doubt.


Many dental treatments usually require the patient to be still. However, due to the pain, fear, or teeth sensitivity, many patients find it difficult to remain calm during dental procedures. You can overcome this challenge by taking dental sedation. Dental sedation reduces brain activity and keeps the body relaxed and comfortable. Although you will be cautious of what the dentist is doing and will be able to answer questions and follow instructions, you won’t feel any pain.

Dental sedation could be oral, inhalation, or intravenous sedation. It can help children and kids to cope with the pains of dental procedures. It could also be beneficial to people with sensitive teeth, phobia for sharp objects, or allergic to some dental procedures. However, it is important to discuss your type of sedation with your dentist beforehand. It is also important that you have a companion with you that will drive you back home and assist you with other activities.