Dental Sedation FAQs: What to Know Before Your Appointment


Most people realize that regular dental visits are necessary for overall health. However, many patients allow their dental-related fears to keep them from getting the care they need. In fact, 20% of American adults have one or more cavities that have gone untreated.


There are many reasons behind oral healthcare avoidance — and many different ways to address those issues. However, dental sedation can be a viable option for countless patients who need dental treatment but have avoided seeking out assistance in the past. In today’s post, we’ll discuss a few questions sedation dentists are frequently asked and learn a bit more about whether this option might be right for your situation.


What is Sedation Dentistry?

Dental sedation, as the name suggests, involves administering a sedative to a patient prior to beginning a dental appointment or procedure. A sedation dentist may offer different types of sedatives for patients to choose from; generally, there are oral sedatives (which are prescription pills that are ingested prior to the appointment) or IV sedation options. Typically, dentists will practice conscious sedation, meaning that the patient will be fully awake during the visit. In some cases, like when IV sedation is used, a patient may fall asleep — but will still be conscious — during the procedure.

What Are Some Reasons to Be Sedated During a Dental Visit?

One of the most common reasons to consider dental sedation is a significant fear of visiting the dentist. Conscious sedation can also be of benefit to those who dislike needles, those with prior traumas, those with sensitive teeth or gag reflexes, those who are sensitive to noise, or those who have complex dental issues to be addressed during lengthier visits. If your fear of the dentist, specific sensitivities, or embarrassment about the state of your teeth has kept you from getting necessary treatment, sedation may be a good way to prioritize your health.

How Will I Feel During and After Dental Sedation?

During sedation, the majority of patients will feel no pain. In most cases, you’ll be able to respond to your dentist and will be fully aware of what’s happening. However, you may feel so relaxed that you might fall asleep during the course of your visit. After your visit, you may feel groggy and may not be able to recall much about your appointment. In many cases, dentists will require patients to be driven home by a friend or family member to ensure their safety. You may also feel sore if your dentist performed any procedures during your visit. It’s a good idea to talk to your sedation dentist about what you can expect with their particular choice in sedation and to ensure any special post-appointment instructions are given to you in writing afterward.

Is Dental Sedation Safe For Everyone?

Although any procedure has potential side effects, sedation dentistry is considered to be safe. Patients are monitored thoroughly during their visits and safety measures are put in place to ensure risks are minimized. Moreover, a dentist will review a patient’s medical history before any sedatives are used to prioritize patient safety. While not all patients will be good candidates for sedation during dental appointments, it’s recommended that you inquire with your dentist directly to assess whether this might be an option for you.

If you feel anxious about an upcoming dental procedure or have been putting off dental visits for years due to prior bad experiences, you don’t have to keep these fears from allowing you to prioritize your health.

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