Top‌ ‌questions‌ ‌about‌ ‌sedation‌ ‌dentistry‌

Have you been avoiding the dentist because of fear, anxiety, or stress?

Sedation dentistry is used for people who have a fear of the dentist or fear of dental procedures. From having extra sensitive teeth to anxiety over the sights, smells, touch, or a bad experience, fear of the dentist comes in many forms.  

Sedation calms nerves and makes your visit to the dentist more enjoyable and relaxing. 

Patients have a lot of questions about sedation. Before you go in for your treatment, it’s best to know what you’re getting into. 

In this article, we’ll answer 12 of the most common questions about sedation dentistry. 

12 sedation dentistry questions & answers:

Is sedation dentistry safe?

When administered by a trained and licensed sedationist, sedation is incredibly safe. Your dentist will take you through a comprehensive review of your medical history and ask you questions to determine if you’re a good candidate. 

During your procedure, your dentist will continually monitor your vital signs according to the current guidelines.  They have oxygen and drugs on hand to reverse the effects of the sedation if needed.  

What are the types of sedation dentistry

There are several types of sedation available depending on your preferences and needs. 

Oral Sedation – Tablet is given to the patient in advance of the treatment for a gentle and subtle calming effect.

Inhalation/Gas – Breathing in nitrous-oxide gas also known as laughing gas. This is administered by placing a mask over the mouth. 

IV Sedation (intravenous sedation) – If oral or gas sedation is not enough to calm your nerves, IV sedation achieves a deeper level of sedation for those with severe fears and anxiety and/or complex dental treatment. IV sedation is also known as twilight sedation as you remain awake but will not remember any of the procedures.

How long will the anaesthetic last?

With nitrous oxide, the effects dissipate shortly after the breathing mask is removed. Oral sedatives and IV or twilight sedation last upwards of a few hours after and wear off gradually. 

What does sedation feel like?

With all sedative types, you will feel calm, relaxed, and comfortable. The sedative will make you feel lethargic and a bit groggy. Stress and anxiety melt away and may come with a feeling of euphoria. Reflexes and coordination are also slowed, and speech may start to slur.  

With IV sedation, the effects are similar to oral and gas, but much deeper. Patients may have trouble staying awake, and while you’re still conscious, you won’t know what’s happening or be able to clearly communicate or feel much.  

Where do I get my sedation?

Many dentists offer sedation right in the dentist’s chair. Dentists need to have specialised training and certifications to administer deeper forms of sedation such as IV sedation. Make sure your dentist is certified to administer the various types of sedatives.

Having your sedation in the dentist’s chair means no hospital fees, no hospital admissions, and you get your sedation in the comfort of a familiar and relaxed environment.  

What are the benefits of sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry offers patients with a phobia or fear of the dentist or complex dental procedures the opportunity to relax and get through their treatments. There’s a sedative type for any degree of anxiety or complexity of the procedure.  

Sedation ensures that your visit is comfortable, safe, and increases the chance that you’ll have the annual check-ups, cleaning, X-rays, and treatments you need for good oral health. 

Can anyone get sedation?

Most adults and children can safely be sedated at the dentist.  After going through your medical history and current medication usage, they will determine if sedation is safe for you. If there is any concern over your health from using one or more types of sedation, your dentist will discuss this with you. 

Can I get all my dental work done with sedation?

Yes, any procedure can be done under sedation. Even someone going in for a simple check-up and cleaning is eligible for sedation if they are experiencing anxiety or stress.

Can I drive myself back to home or work after sedation?

Oral and IV sedation leave you feeling groggy and unable to operate vehicles or heavy equipment. You will not be able to drive yourself back after oral or IV sedation and instead, need to have someone there to pick you up or help you get home. With nitrous oxide, you can drive home if you are feeling able to.    

Can I eat before I have sedation?

Your dentist will give you specific instructions before your treatment, but in general, there are no restrictions on eating before receiving oral or gas sedation. 

For IV sedation, fasting is required, similar to general anaethesia.

How much does it cost for sedation?

The cost of sedation dentistry depends on a few factors including the service provider, the type of sedation, and the length of time it’s needed for. Generally, you’ll be charged for sedation on a per-hour basis but charge methods may differ from practice to practice.  

Are there any risks or side effects to sedation dentistry?

While the vast majority of patients get sedation with no side effects, it’s still important to be aware of what can happen. After the procedure, some patients may experience:

  • Drowsiness
  • Sluggish
  • Headaches
  • Slow reflex
  • Foggy 
  • Low blood pressure
  • Feeling nauseous and sick

Going to the dentist no longer has to be scary or cause anxiety and stress. Ask your dentist if they provide sedation dentistry and what types are available.  

We hope we were able to answer some of your top questions about sedation dentistry so you can feel comfortable and informed asking for it from your dentist. If you have any further questions not answered in this article, contact your local dentist who’ll be happy to answer any other questions and address any concerns you may have.  

Dr Shabbir Kermali
Dr Shabbir Kermali

Dr Shabbir Kermali is an Australian qualified general dentist at King Street Dental and completed his Bachelor of Dentistry degree at the University of Sydney. Shabbir is also a qualified pharmacist and has a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Sydney.

After graduating from Dentistry, Shabbir obtained a graduate qualification in Conscious Sedation and Pain Control from the University of Sydney. This qualification allows Shabbir to perform Conscious Sedation (Sleep Dentistry) safely and effectively and is the only dentist in the Illawarra to have this qualification. Shabbir further continued his education and obtained formal qualifications in Dental Implants from the University of Sydney.

Shabbir loves spending time with his family and four beautiful children. In his spare time, he enjoys playing tennis, family game night with his kids, working in the yard, and firing up the BBQ for a feast.

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