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What does sedation during dental treatment involve?

Our latest blog posting is aimed at those who find having dental treatment difficult and would like to know more about the range of options available that can compromise the best of both worlds – still having treatment and receiving all the health benefit this brings, although with being comfortable and less anxious. Many imagine something like this to be impossible, but read on to find out how this isn’t necessarily out of reach.

Sedation can be used in a number of ways and this depends upon the individuals extent of fear. Some clearly don’t need sedation, some just need it for in-depth procedures, while some can’t even have a simple tooth clean procedure without having some kind of help.


Dental sedation is often know as sleep dentistry and this perhaps might explain it better for some people. This however is not entirely accurate because it gives the impression that patients are unconscious. Unless a procedure is done under general anaesthetic this is not normally the case. Dental sedation involves being awake and conscious but in a relaxed state (almost similar to a trance.)

There are different levels of sedation. This ranges from mild where you are just normally relaxed, to deeper states where you are on the verge of being asleep but can still be woken and remain alert.


As well as different levels of sedation, there are also different ways sedation can be administered. This will again depend on the individual, the treatment being carried out, and your individual dentists facilities.

* Inhalation sedation – This involves breathing in a substance called nitrous oxide (you may know this better as laughing gas.) The advantage of this is the effects wear off quickly, and given the fact the amount you have can be controlled in a precise way, this is quite an effective option.


* Oral sedation – The type of oral sedation that is taken can range depending on whether you need the effects to be mild or moderate. For milder cases a pill is normally taken and this normally works in the same way as Valium. More of this can be taken which produces a greater therapeutic effect. This is one of the common methods used by dentists although some patients may feel a little disorientated for a while after.


* IV sedation – This method involves an injection and this works more quickly than perhaps a pill would. The dentist is able to adjust any dosage much more easily and this is used for some of the most nervous patients undergoing complicated procedures.

* General anaesthetic – this would normally be carried out at a hospital or dental hospital where facilities are available to provide aftercare. Only dentists who are specialists with extra training can administer sedation at this level.


It is easy to think that only those who are anxious will need sedation, but in truth sedation is often useful in a number of dental circumstances. These include: those with a low pain tolerance, those who find it difficult to sit still in a dentist’s chair for long periods of time etc.

If you would like to find out more on dental sedation, visit our dedicated section where you can find out much more information.

Get in touch with us today on 01827 664 35