What types of sedation are used in dentistry?

Dental sedation is a very safe and popular way to manage anxiety during your dental procedure. There are many different types of sedation that can be used in dentistry, including:


Local anesthetic

A local anesthetic is a numbing agent that works by blocking the transmission of pain signals from the nerve to the brain. It is injected into your gum or cheek before any type of dental procedure, and it can be used for simple procedures like fillings, crowns and root canals.

Local anesthetic injections can be very effective in reducing discomfort during a dental appointment. The effects of these injections wear off quickly as well, meaning you won’t have to worry about having to take time off work because of an uncomfortable injection site!

Local anesthetics are not only used for dental procedures like dental implants placement, but also for other types of medical procedures. They can be used to numb the skin in preparation for a biopsy or other medical procedures that require penetration of the skin.

Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas

Nitrous oxide (also known as “laughing gas”) is a type of sedation that can be used by itself or in combination with other medications. It is a colorless, odorless gas that can be inhaled through a mask or nosepiece. Nitrous oxide works by relaxing muscles and reducing anxiety through its ability to alter the way your brain processes signals sent from your nervous system. The most common use for nitrous oxide is for mild dental procedures such as fillings, dental bridges, wisdom teeth removal and exams.

The biggest risks associated with this form of sedation are short-term side effects such as headaches, nausea and vomiting following treatment. These typically resolve within 24 hours after you leave our office. While rare, some people may experience breathing issues due to low oxygen levels when receiving nitrous oxide through inhalation therapy alone (i.e., without any other medication). As always it’s important that you speak up if you feel uncomfortable during treatment so we can make sure everything is alright!

In general I wouldn’t recommend using this form of sedation unless absolutely necessary because its effects are so short-lived (usually 5-10 minutes). However if given orally alongside another medication like Valium® or Xanax® it can help calm nerves before an appointment begins while still allowing enough time afterwards so we’re able to complete all necessary procedures safely without rushing too much later on down road later down road later down road

Oral sedation

Oral sedation (also known as conscious sedation) is a type of light anesthesia that you can get in the dentist’s office, or in some cases at home. It’s useful for patients who have trouble feeling pain and anxiety around dental procedures, and it can help you relax so that you aren’t completely out cold during your appointment. There are a few different options for oral sedation, but they all work basically the same way: they reduce your heart rate, lower blood pressure and cause relaxation by slowing down activity in certain parts of your brain.

There are pros and cons to getting oral edentation—the most important thing is to talk with your dentist about whether it’s right for you!

IV sedation

IV sedation is the most common form of sedation used in dentistry. It’s safe, effective and often administered by a dentist or doctor with experience in this area. IV sedation is generally used for procedures that take longer than two hours, but sometimes it can be used during shorter procedures as well.

IV sedation uses a combination of medications that work together to relax you and make you sleepy without causing unconsciousness (unlike general anesthesia). You still remain awake during your treatment and can respond to questions from your dentist or dental assistant if they ask them while you’re under the influence of IV sedation.

You do not have to be awake during a dental procedure.

You do not have to be awake during a dental procedure. While there are different types of sedation, you might be offered any one of the following:

  • Sedation for sleep
  • Sedation for relaxation
  • Sedation in order to numb an area of your mouth and throat
  • Sedation in order to relieve pain from a toothache (or other type of injury) or surgery on your gums and jawbone
  • A combination of sedatives that will relax you, relieve anxiety about dental care, prevent nausea/vomiting after anesthesia injections or extractions and control pain

Sedation for anxiety or pain management Sedation for sleep can be used by itself or in combination with other sedative drugs. It’s often helpful if you have trouble falling asleep at night, but it may not be appropriate if you have to drive home after the appointment. Sedation for relaxation is commonly used during dental procedures that require more than one visit (such as a root canal). It will calm down your body and mind so that you can sit still for longer periods of time without feeling anxious about what might happen next.


You do not have to be awake during a dental procedure. You can choose from several sedation options that will make you relaxed and comfortable.

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