sedation dentistry

There is a solution to your dental anxiety. It’s called sedation dentistry, and it’s there for you when your nerves are not. 


What is Sedation (Sleep) Dentistry?

For most, going to the dentist is to pamper their healthier, happier smiles. But for others, it’s like sitting on a chair of anxiety. Luckily, Smile Generation-trusted dentists recognize a patient’s needs and fears are as much a part of dentistry as proper technique with the dental probe.  


Sedation, better known as sleep dentistry, is an effective approach for minimizing anxiety and discomfort during dental procedures. Whether it’s an extensive extraction or for calming nerves, there are four different types of sedation. 

Woman dreaming about dentistry

What Dental Procedures Require Sedation?


The type of dental work that requires sedation can vary from person to person. If you’re thinking of using sedation, it’s helpful to know which procedures require it. Rest easy, these are the five most common procedures.


Dental Implants

dental implant


tooth extraction

Root Canals

Root Canal

Periodontal Surgery

tooth and roots

Emergency Dentistry

alert light
Woman framing her smile

How do I Cope with Dental Fear?

For a variety of reasons, such as drilling, pain, childhood experiences, among others, many patients have dental phobia. It’s important to remember that fear is not really a bad thing. It’s a healthy, primary reaction to perceived threat and protects us from harm. This is useful when facing real danger, but less so if it’s keeping you from getting the treatment you need for a healthy, happy smile.  
We’ve all been in this familiar, tense spot. To ease the anxiety, we’ve rounded up five tips so you’re well prepared for your next appointment:


Plan ahead and schedule an appointment at a less busy time.

Be honest with your dentist.

Practice deep breathing techniques.

Ask a friend or loved one to accompany you.

Visit your dentist regularly (makes it feel more routine).

Man scared of tooth extraction

Dental Sedation Options

Whether it’s for an extensive dental procedure or to calm nerves, your dentist will recommend the type of sedation most appropriate for you and your dental work. Learning about the available types of sedation will help determine what level of dental sedation will best meet your needs.

IV Sedation 

IV Sedation works as a form of conscious sedation to help you feel relaxed during your appointment. Unlike other forms of sedation that are inhaled or taken in pill form, the dentist administers the sedation intravenously – through a vein. With IV sedation, you can expect to be less aware of your surroundings, but not be fully asleep. This means you can still respond to verbal instructions.  

The main benefits of IV sedation are it starts working quickly, the dentist can monitor your vitals, and allow your dentist to provide extensive treatment with only one appointment.    

Minimal Sedation

Minimal sedation is a state of relaxation while being awake. You can still act independently. It’s not a scary process. This kind of sedation is taken in the form of an anti-anxiety pill before the appointment or inhaling nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” immediately before and during the procedure. After treatment, it only takes a few minutes for the effects of the sedation to wear off.

Deep Sedation

Deep sedation allows patients to virtually have no memory of the procedure. If you’re in this state, you won’t be awake for your procedure, but you’ll be aware of or able to feel repeated sharp pain. This is an option for patients who experience severe dental anxiety or require extensive dental work. After the treatment, it will take up to 24 hours for the effects of this level of sedation to fully wear off.

Local Anesthesia

Local anesthesia reduces or eliminates sensation in a particular area. Dentists apply local anesthesia topically to the site or through injection. Unlike other sedation methods, local anesthesia doesn’t reduce anxiety. Instead, it can help minimize pain and discomfort during dental procedures – making them far more tolerable. And for good reason, it’s the most common dental practice.


How Much Does Sedation Cost?

Much has been said about the cost of sedation dentistry, but often overlooked in these discussions are four important factors: type of sedation, complexity of the procedure, insurance coverage, and geographic location.  
The various types of sedation all have different costs associated with them. And as expected, the least expensive option is typically minimal sedation. Dental insurance providers generally have a list of procedures for which sedation is considered standard and covered by insurance. These situations may include dental implants, extractions, root canals, and other types of oral surgery that require sedation to manage pain. If you’re concerned about the cost of sedation dentistry, talk to your Smile Generation-trusted dentist today.

Illustration of a hand holding dollar bills with a green background
individual with beautiful teeth flossing in front of the mirror

Book an Appointment Today


It’s no secret visiting the dentist can cause anxiety, but it shouldn’t prevent you from receiving the oral care you deserve.



Can I ask my Dentist for Sedation?

Ever wish you could ask a dentist all your pressing sedation dentistry questions? Now you can. (Actually, you should.)  


Smile Generation-trusted dentists regularly work with patients who experience dental anxiety. If you feel anxious about a dental appointment, talk to your dentist about sedation options. Your dentist will explain what’s available and make a recommendation based on your concerns and the care you need.

Dentist talking to a patient in the dental chair

Got questions?


We’ve got answers to all of your sedation questions. Browse our FAQs here or give us a call at 1-800-SMILEGEN.


Nitrous oxide, often known as laughing gas, is a mild sedative commonly used during dental treatments. It’s used to manage a patient’s pain and anxiety due to the treatment, but it’s not meant to put you to sleep. Since the mid-1800s, laughing gas has been employed in surgical and dental treatments.

Because of its effectiveness and safety, dentists are increasingly turning to laughing gas for sedation. It acts rapidly, usually in a matter of minutes, and it wears off quickly once the treatment is through. In addition, laughing gas allows you to speak with the dentist throughout the treatment because you are not sleepy, like you would be under general anesthesia.

Laughing gas is an excellent sedative for a variety of dental operations. However, that does not imply that it is appropriate or safe for all patients. If you have any of the following problems, consult your dentist before undergoing any procedure:


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or any other respiratory disorders

Drug and substance abuse history

Currently in the first trimester of pregnancy

Vitamin b-12 deficiency

A history of mental health condition


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WebMD. (n.d.). Sedation Dentistry: Can You Really Relax in the Dentist's Chair? 

Your Dentistry Guide. (n.d.). Sedation Dentistry: Types, Uses, and Risks. 

Colgate. (n.d.). Is IV Sedation Dentistry Right for You? 


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