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What is Sedation Dentistry

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is the practice of sedating a patient while they are having a dental treatment performed. This means, helping them to relax while they undergo their procedure. Dental sedation is an excellent tool to help those with dental anxiety, children who cannot sit still during the procedure, individuals who have difficulty controlling their movements, those with special needs, and more.

What types of sedation are used in dentistry?

There are varying levels of sedation dentistry based on your unique needs. Factors include your level of anxiety, the length of your procedure, your health history and personal preferences. The most common types of sedation dentistry include nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation and intravenous (IV) sedation.

Nitrous oxide: Nitrous oxide is commonly known as “laughing gas.” You inhale nitrous oxide through a mask or nosepiece, and calming effects begin within three to five minutes. Your dentist controls the amount of sedation you receive and adjusts dosages accordingly throughout your procedure. Once your treatment is over, your dentist gives you pure oxygen to flush the nitrous oxide out of your system. Because the laughing gas leaves your system so quickly, you’ll be able to drive yourself home after the procedure.

Oral conscious sedation: With oral conscious sedation, your dentist gives you sedative medication (usually in pill form) about an hour before your procedure begins. Most dentists use triazolam (Halcion®), which is in the diazepam (Valium®) family. But your dentist might use other medications, too, including zaleplon and lorazepam. Dentists often used liquid sedation in pediatric dentistry, such as midazolam oral syrup.

Oral sedation makes you quite groggy, and you may even fall asleep. But you’ll still be able to communicate with your dentist if necessary, and you’ll awaken with a gentle nudge. Because oral sedation temporarily affects your memory and motor skills, you’ll need a friend or family member to drive you home after your procedure.

Intravenous (IV) sedation: IV sedation dentistry is the deepest form of conscious sedation available in a dental office setting. Your healthcare provider delivers sedative medications directly to your bloodstream through an IV line. During your procedure, your dentist monitors your heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels. They can adjust your dosage at any point and can use reversal medications if necessary. Most people who receive IV sedation dentistry fall asleep and have little to no memory of their treatment when they wake up. This option is best for people with severe dental anxiety or those who are undergoing lengthy procedures.

Is Sedation Dentistry Covered By Insurance?

In most cases, dental insurance companies do not include coverage for sedation dentistry. While this may be a deterrent for patients that need a dental procedure but have anxiety, it should never prevent you from taking care of your dental needs. When left untreated, dental problems will only become more exaggerated, costing you more time and money.

Why Is Sedation Dentistry Not Covered?

In some cases, insurance companies choose not to cover sedation costs because they are more expensive than the actual procedure the individual is receiving. If you are interested in having a dental procedure performed with sedation reach out to our team to learn your options.

What Is the Recovery Time?

Recovery times for sedation depend on the type of sedation used and the individual. In most cases, those who are sedated with nitrous oxide will recover within 15 to 30 minutes and are permitted to drive themselves home. Individuals who choose oral conscious sedation or IV sedation will need more time and should not plan to drive themselves home.

Going to the Dentist Doesn’t Have to Be Scary

We prioritize the health and comfort of our patients. This is why we provide sedation dentistry at our practice. Our dentists Dr. Brian L. Porter or Dr. Kelley Joo, work with patients to help them come up with a treatment plan that makes them feel comfortable throughout their procedure. Learn more about dental sedation by contacting Brian L. Porter, DDS at 281-422-3415 today.


Brian L. Porter, DDS
1109 E. James Ave.
Baytown, TX 77520
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