3 Types Of Sedation Used By Dentists, And What They Mean To Patients

Are you someone who is afraid to visit the dentist?  Is the thought of getting in that dentist chair and having your mouth examined a thought that incites fear?  If so, then you might be a candidate for one of the many types of sedation dentistry techniques that are available today.

Let me first say that if you live in Rochelle, Georgia or anywhere in the south Atlanta area, the very best dental care can be found at Rochelle Family Dentistry with Dr. Michael Frazier and his staff.  Dr. Frazier specializes in making everyone, from children to the elderly, happy, comfortable, and at ease for all of their dental treatments.  Dr. Frazier is a well know and well respected dentist that has clients drive from all over the State of Georgia to come for treatment.  Check out Dr. Frazier on Facebook today.

So let’s get back to this issue of having some hesitation while visiting the dentist.  This is common, especially among children.  But did you know there are some techniques available that will help you relax and actually enjoy visit the dentist?  These techniques involve what’s called sedation, which is designed to help patients relax while going through dental procedures.

There are three main types of sedation used in dentistry today and we’ll take a quick look at those below.  Each procedure is always administered by the qualified practitioners in dentistry, and all are designed to make your visit to the dentist more enjoyable.  The three types of sedation we’ll look at today are conscious sedation, nitrous oxide, and oral sedation.

#1:  Concious Sedation

Probably most common with children and pediatric dentistry, conscious sedation is designed to help the patient (or child) become more relaxed without having to put the patient to sleep.  Children especially can be nervous when it comes to visiting the dentist.  And as such, any procedure that a dentist would have to perform could become dangerous for the patient if he or she is not fully relaxed.  And so conscious sedation is used to help relax the patient, yet keep them conscious and alert, and fully capable of responding to others.  This is great way to go for those who are simply overly nervous about visiting the dentist, but adverse to heavier sedation.

#2:  Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous Oxide, or better known as laughing gas, is a mild or moderate form of sedation for patients who visit the dentist and overly nervous or anxious about their scheduled treatments.  Nitrous Oxide helps to ease patient’s fears so as to help them relax during their visit, and to receive dental treatment in a comfortable and safe manner.  Typically delivered through a mask over the mouth and nose, nitrous oxide is mixed directly with oxygen and delivered as the patient breathes in and out regularly.  The patient is usually asked to breath normally through the nose, and as the gas begins to take effect, the child will become more relaxed and less nervous.

Nitrous Oxide is 100% safe to use during treatment and is eliminated from the body quickly after the gas is turned off.  The child will remain awake during the entire procedure and will be able to interact and communicate with the dentist.  After the procedure(s) are over, the nitrous oxide gas will be turned off and typically the dentist will continue to deliver oxygen for a few minutes to ensure that all gas is flushed from the system.

If your child is opposed to wearing a mask, or if you child has a stuffy nose during the day of the visit, then nitrous oxide may not be the best option for sedation.  The dentist will then be able to consult with you as to what the best alternative method may be to considered.

#3:  Oral Sedation

Sometimes, children are more anxious than most to visit the dentist, which is completely normal.  For the child who is overly anxious, they may need sedation that is a bit stronger than nitrous oxide.  These stronger remedies for sedation are most commonly referred to as oral sedation.  

Oral sedation at the dentist can come in the form of several different types of medicines and are given by mouth (thus the type oral).   Some things to consider when choosing the best oral sedation medicine would be things like:

  • Anxiety level of the patient (or child)
  • Ability to cooperate with the dentist and staff
  • Treatment considerations

With oral sedation, the patient or child may become sleepy and / or fall asleep completely during the treatment.  In most cases, the patient can easily be aroused and become responsive to simple comments or commands.  After treatment is complete, the patient may be asked to remain resting so the dentist and staff can continue observing the patient for any signs or symptoms that may arise from the sedation.  And at the end of the treatment, a child may have to be carried home by the parent as a result of the sedation.

These are just a few of the ways sedation is administered to patients and children who are anxious about visiting the dentist.  Ultimately, no matter what method of sedation is used, a professional dentist will explore all options and all safety concerns for each individual patient.

The bottom line, the dentist wants to make sure the child (the patient) has a great experience during their treatment and is excited about their next visit.

So have you, or your child, experienced sedation during a recent visit to your dentist?

If so, what was the sedation?  And what was the outcome as a result of the sedation?


  1. Rochelle Family Dentistry June 14, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Sedation Dentistry is on the rise. Here are three types of Sedation Dentistry.

    • Laila Elizabeth Piskov June 15, 2012 at 12:45 am

      I'm not afraid of you dentists ;D But the article did not actually explain what conscious sedation entails. I'm curious.

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