What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Dental sedation is the use of medication to relieve dental anxiety, stress, and dental phobias during dental treatment. Dental anxiety is a very common phenomenon that afflicts up to 36% of the population.

If you’re scared of the dentist, needles, dental tools, or you feel claustrophobic when a painless dentist is working on your mouth, this can cause avoidance of necessary dental treatment, which is the last thing we want.

By administering differing concentrations of sedatives, we can induce a patient into mild to deep sedation. These are various states of calm, ranging from relaxed and slightly sleepy to completely unconscious.

The use of dental sedation puts patients at ease, reduces avoidance of dental treatment, increases cooperation, and enables dentists to get more dental work done in fewer appointments. Sedation dentistry allows our patients with dental anxiety or dental phobia to have a painless experience.

Sedation Dentistry in Austin, TX

Oral Conscious Sedation

A conscious form of sedation is when the patient remains fully awake and responsive to their surroundings while they are sedated. It is a form of painless dentistry. However, they are much more relaxed and may feel sleepy, or in a dream-like state.

If you feel very relaxed and drowsy, you may drift off to sleep, but you can be easily awoken.

Oral sedation has its advantages because the sedation dentist can give you instructions and you can respond. It’s also associated with fewer risks compared to deeper levels of sedation and is more affordable. Oral conscious sedation is administered through an anti-anxiety pill that is taken about 1 hour before your appointment.

You will need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from your appointment and monitor you for the rest of the day. You will not be able to drive once you take the medication and since the effects can linger for up to 24 hours, you will need them to take you home and watch over you for the rest of the day. The medication is taken an hour before your appointment because this allows enough time for it to kick in by the time of your treatment.

You are unlikely to remember what happened once the appointment is over, because of the amnesiac effects of the sedative. This is a great advantage for those with past trauma in the dental setting.

Austin, TX Sedation Dentistry

Care You Can Count On

See Why Families Are Smiling

This was a very positive experience for me starting with customer service when making the appointment to having the procedure done by the dentist. The assistance that prepped me took care to make sure that I was given a pre numbing type ointment prior to having an injection which was very nice because that injection normally would hurt. Everyone was professional, helpful and pleasant.


Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions about sedation? We’ve got the answers you need. Read on, and get all the details about painless dentistry.

Can An Emergency Dentist Put Me to Sleep?

Yes, an emergency dentist can put you to sleep using IV sedation or you could have your treatment performed under general anesthesia in a hospital. However, oral conscious sedation will not put you to sleep because it is a milder sedative that merely relaxes you and melts away negative feelings like stress and anxiety.

Do I Feel Pain With Sedation?

No, you will not feel any pain under sedation. Any invasive dental procedures or treatments that have the potential to cause pain are safeguarded by the administration of local anesthesia. This completely numbs your mouth so that you don’t feel any pain.

The additional use of dental sedation also eliminates pain sensation, making you feel very comfortable during your appointment. Best of all, you don’t need to remember anything afterward. Painless dentistry is the way to go if you experience dental anxiety or dental phobia. 

How long does it take for sedation from the dentist to wear off?

It depends on the type of sedation used. For instance, if you receive an oral sedative, the effects usually take about an hour to wear off. However, if you have IV sedation dentistry, the effects may last for several hours. In general, the deeper the level of sedation, the longer it will take for the effects to dissipate.

Who is a candidate for sedation dentistry?

Patients who fear or feel anxious when visiting a dentist may be good candidates for sedation dentistry. It’s important to note that different sedation dentists have varying capacities. Make sure to do your research on the education and experience of your provider before booking an appointment.

Some people are born with a natural fear of going to the dentist. For others, it develops over time after having had a bad experience or two. Regardless of how it started, feeling anxious about dental work can make routine procedures like cleanings and fillings very difficult to get through. This can keep some people away from the dentist altogether, which can lead to bigger problems down the road.

Sedation dentistry is ideal for individuals who:

  • Avoid dental appointments due to fear or anxiety
  • Have difficulty getting numb
  • Have multiple procedures done at one time
  • Have TMJ (jaw pain) or bite problems
  • Can’t sit still in the dental chair
  • Fear needles

Talk to your dentist about sedation options if you feel anxious about upcoming procedures. There are different types of sedatives available, and your dentist will help you decide which one is appropriate for your situation.

What can I expect after being sedated?

Depending on the type and amount of sedation received, you may be awake or asleep during the procedure.

If you remain awake during the procedure, you will likely feel very relaxed but may not remember much about the procedure afterward. If you fall asleep, you will not be aware of anything during the procedure.

What do I do after my procedure?

If you were awake during the procedure, you will need someone to drive you home, as the effects of the sedative can last for several hours. Once home, it is important to rest and avoid any strenuous activity. You should also avoid drinking alcohol or operating machinery until the effects of the sedative have worn off completely.

If you were asleep during the procedure, someone will need to stay with you until the effects of the anesthesia have worn off completely. It is important not to drink alcohol or operate machinery until all residual effects have dissipated.

During your appointment, the dentist will give you either an oral sedative or an IV sedative, depending on which type of sedation you decide. You may feel drowsy or even fall asleep during the procedure. The dentist will constantly monitor your vital signs to make sure you are safe and comfortable throughout the procedure.

Dental care when you need it most.