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Sedation Dentistry

While not essential for most standard dental care procedures, dental sedation is a useful tool in pain management for specific treatments as well as in minimizing the stress, fear, or anxiety many patients feel toward dental care in general. Whether it’s helping you relax for a routine cleaning or reducing pain during wisdom teeth removal, dental sedation is just another way Monarch Dental helps ensure you receive the best care possible.*

*Dental sedation may not be available at all Monarch Dental locations. Check with your office first before scheduling an appointment.

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What is dental sedation?

Different forms of sedation–or anesthesia–have been used in dentistry for decades and have been proven safe and effective at minimizing or eliminating pain and discomfort during a dental procedure. Dental sedation can also be used to help anxious patients receive the dental care and treatment they need.

Dental sedation can range from a local anesthetic, which numbs a specific area, to sedatives that simply relax you so the dentist can perform the necessary procedure. Dental sedation comes in several forms and can be administered as a topical application, a gas which is inhaled, or an injection at the site of the procedure. Sometimes a combination of these methods is used for optimal pain management.  

What types of dental sedation are there?

Dental sedation varies widely, from the way it is administered to the effects it produces and how long the effects last.

Here are the most common types of dental sedation and how they are used:

Inhaled Minimal Sedation (“Laughing gas”)

What it is: A combination of oxygen and nitrous oxide, also referred to as “laughing gas”

How it is administered: Inhaled through a mask placed over your nose. With inhaled minimal sedation, dentists and dental hygienists are able to control the level of sedation almost instantly, and the effect wears off quickly.

Common effects: A giggly, “silly” feeling at first, then general relaxation. Patients can remain still while still communicating with the dentist. If laughing gas is the only form of sedation used, you will likely be able to drive yourself home following your procedure. If other forms of sedation are used in conjunction with laughing gas, it is important to have another driver take you home, since the other form of sedation may take longer to wear off. 

Common uses: For patients with anxiety or phobias, laughing gas is sometimes all that is necessary to reduce feelings of anxiousness. 

Oral Sedation

What it is: Sedatives taken orally; dosage depends on your weight and the type of procedure.

How it is administered: As a pill or liquid taken within minutes or hours of a procedure. Depending on how you react to the oral sedation and your anxiety levels, you may be given another dosage immediately before the procedure.

Common effects: Effects will vary from very little to more moderate sedation, depending on your weight, tolerance, and the amount of oral sedation administered. While you may feel sleepy, it shouldn’t knock you out.  While the medication isn’t designed to make you fall asleep, plenty of patients do, which is perfectly fine as the dental work can still be done this way. 

IV Sedation

What it is: Also called “conscious sedation” because you will be awake but still responsive.

How it is administered: IV (intravenous) sedation is administered directly, and continuously into the bloodstream via an IV. The level of sedation can be controlled in real time and effects are felt much faster.

Common effects: You may feel very relaxed and sleepy. IV sedation may affect your judgment for up to 24 hours after it has been administered, so you should not drive or make any important decisions during this time. 

Deep Sedation 

What it is: Essentially general anesthesia. It is rarely used for anxiety or phobia, but rather for extensive or invasive surgical procedures like wisdom teeth extraction. 

How it is administered: Usually administered via an IV or inhaled

Common effects: You will be either nearly or completely unconscious, and you should expect to fall into a deep sleep. It can produce a feeling of fogginess or forgetfulness upon waking.

Local Anesthetic 

Although it does not technically sedate you, local anesthetic is one of the most commonly used types of pain management for dental procedures. Local anesthetic can be used alone or in conjunction with other sedation methods, depending on the procedure, and is administered directly to the area needing treatment via topical application or injection. 

A local anesthetic does not do anything to prevent or reduce anxiety, nor does it make you sleepy or fall asleep, but it does allow your dentist to perform procedures that are important to preserving your dental health. Local anesthetics numb the nerves, reduce discomfort, and minimize pain so the dentist can work quickly and you can stay comfortable.

How much does dental sedation cost?

The cost of dental sedation varies from patient to patient and depends on factors such as age and weight, which can determine how much sedation is needed, as well as what type of sedation is used and for what purpose.

Many dental insurance providers will cover some or all of the cost of dental sedation, depending on the circumstances. Monarch Dental accepts most major dental plans, in addition to CareCredit. We’ll work with you to determine how much your dental insurance will cover for the cost of dental sedation, or what you’ll be responsible for out-of-pocket. And, we offer multiple financing options and payment plans to help you afford the care you need.

Dental Sedation at Monarch Dental

At Monarch Dental, we understand that getting the care needed for a beautiful, healthy smile can be hard to get for some people because of anxiety or fear. Dental sedation can help reduce your feelings of anxiety, fear, or discomfort and, for many, help you overcome your hesitation toward dental care. In time, many patients eventually become comfortable visiting the dentist, eliminating the need for sedation at all.

If fear has kept you from visiting the dentist, schedule a no-obligation consultation with a Monarch Dental location near you.* Our professional, caring, and compassionate staff will help guide you through your dental sedation options and develop a personalized plan to help you get the care you need so you can enjoy a lifetime of good oral health.

*Not all Monarch Dental locations offer sedation dentistry