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Sleep Dentistry vs Mild Sedation 

your guide to anxiety free dental treatment

Sleep dentistry, more accurately called sedation dentistry is the best way to cure dental phobia for some.

Sedation has always been the norm for wisdom teeth removal and many other dental surgeries and is becoming more popular for routine dental care such as fillings, crowns or bridges.

Sedation can be very helpful for cosmetic or reconstructive dental care that requires long appointments.

It is helpful for those who suffer from dental anxiety and may be the only way to have dental treatment for some.

What is sedation dentistry?

A great option for those who suffer from dental phobia to have their treatment completed in one easy (or at least easier) appointment.

Sedated dental patients are awake and responsive, just not afraid or anxious.

Sedation dentistry is commonly called sleep dentistry because patients feel relaxed, sometimes sleepy and may have no memory or awareness of time while under sedation.

3 Dental Sedation Options

  • Nitrous oxide is the most commonly used for light dental sedation. Most dentists have nitrous oxide or laughing gas available. Just ask! Unlike other sedatives, nitrous oxide wears off quickly allowing you a quick return to your daily routine and is the only dental sedation that does not require you to have a driver.


  • Oral sedation involves the use of prescription medications that are taken prior to your appointment. Your dentist can help you determine if oral sedation is a good option. Unlike nitrous oxide, oral medications last several hours and you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment and possibly stay with you for a few hours.


  • IV sedation provides a much quicker result and is commonly used for oral surgeries. Although still awake and responsive, most patients who have IV sedation don't remember anything.

Who needs it?

If you find yourself avoiding dental treatment because of fear or anxiety sedation could be a great choice.

Sedation is helpful for anyone who needs dental surgery or very long dental appointments. For the large number of dental phobics, claustrophobics, or those with a fear of needles, sedation may be necessary for any dental treatment.

Here is a video interview of one person's experience with dental sedation. She was able to have a lot of dental work done in one appointment. She shares the details of her appointment...

Who can provide it?

Most dentists offer nitrous oxide and can prescribe a sedative prior to your treatment.  

For IV sedation, dentists who have been trained  and have the necessary staff, equipment and license to practice this type of sedation dentistry. 

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Most states require additional training and certification. 

Check with your state dental board for education and licensing requirements then with your dentist to be sure he or she is qualified.

Whether you choose sedation or not, finding a caring, compassionate dentist who makes your emotional and physical comfort a high priority is important. 

Not all dentists are the same, finding one who understands your fear and has the patience to help you work through it with or without sedation can make all the difference in the world.


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