Everything You Want to Know About Dental Sedation

April 10, 2019

Does coming to the dentist scare you? Dental sedation can be the answer to calm your nerves before getting your dental work. What types of sedation are there? How does sedation affect you?

What kinds of dental sedation are offered?

At Cambrian Dental, we offer laughing gas, oral sedation, and IV sedation. Each of these has varying effects. The sedation method used depends on your individual circumstance.

What are the effects of different types of sedation at the dentist?

Minimal sedation such as laughing gas relaxes you allowing you to stay conscious. You can walk, talk and breathe normally however this is dose dependent. Laughing gas gets administered through a mask placed over your nose. Nitrous oxide enters your system through regular breathing. The effects take place and wear off in a short period of time. You can safely drive home after your appointment. Laughing gas can be given in conjunction with oral sedation. Your dentist will help you determine if taking these items together works for your situation.

Oral sedation options are a good choice for extensive dental work. This moderate sedation gets administered in pill form prior to the dentist working on your teeth. Oral sedatives make you feel drowsy while remaining awake. You may or may not remember your treatment and will definitely need someone to drive you home afterwards. The effects of oral sedation last 24 hours.

Deep sedation lets you fall into dreamland administered through an IV. Sleeping through your dental procedure is sometimes the best option to alleviate fear allowing the dentist to perform uninterrupted work. Once you wake from your sleep, you will not remember anything about the procedure. You need to be driven home immediately after the dentist finishes treating you.

Is there anything you should do, as a patient, before getting sedation?

Yes, when going to the dentist, it is important for you to fully understand dental sedation options. If someone offered you a pill, would you take it without knowing its effects? Not likely, the same goes for when you are at the dentist. Understanding the different types of sedation and their effects are important so you feel comfortable with the procedure. Your dentist is the best resource for informing you about sedation.

Medical and Dental History

Be prepared for questions about your medical and dental history. Your dentist will inquire about all the medications you are taking to determine any possible side effects. Sedation options are dependent on your overall health, your anxiety level and recommendations from your dentist.


Do some research ahead of your dentist appointment to educate yourself about which sedative is right for your age and health. Sedatives have varying effects on your mind and body, so it is important to choose wisely. A good place to start is The Alberta Dental Association.


You will receive a form noting the risks associated with your choice of sedative. Being aware of your treatment means you are making an informed, cognitive choice. If you have any questions, ask your dentist to clarify.

Besides being nervous at the dentist, what are other situations ideal for sedation?

  • You may have an allergy to local anaesthetic
  • The local anaesthetic may not be effective in providing you pain control
  • Your dentist may need to do a complex procedure that requires sedation
  • You have difficulty keeping your mouth open for a long period of time
  • You experience a gag reflex when the dentist works on your teeth
  • There is a mental or physical disability keeping you from staying still in the dentist’s chair
  • You have special health care requirements

Getting proper dental sedation is important. We record your vital signs keeping you safe at all times.
When you choose sedation, you are choosing a relaxed dental experience.

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