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A Step-By-Step Guide To Your First Sedation Dentistry Appointment

March 17, 2023

Are you terrified of going to the dentist? Do needles and drills make you cringe with fear? If so, sedation dentistry may be the solution for you. Sedation dentistry involves using medication to relax patients during dental procedures. But if you’re new to this concept, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with a step-by-step guide to your first sedation dentistry appointment. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through everything from preparing for your visit to what to expect during and after your procedure. So sit back, relax, and let us help alleviate your dental anxiety once and for all!

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is a branch of dentistry that uses medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. There are different types of sedation dentistry, and the type of sedation used will depend on the procedure being performed, the patient’s medical history, and the dentist’s preference. The most common types of sedation used in dentistry are inhalation sedation (nitrous oxide), oral sedation, and intravenous (IV) sedation.

Inhalation sedation, also known as laughing gas, is a mild form of sedation that is inhaled through a mask placed over the nose. Laughing gas is safe for both children and adults, and it wears off quickly after the procedure is over. Oral sedation is taken in pill form before the appointment, and it can make patients drowsy or even put them to sleep. Oral sedation is typically used for longer procedures or for patients who have a fear of needles (IV Sedation).

Intravenous (IV) Sedation is administered through a small needle placed in the patient’s arm. The medication goes directly into the bloodstream and takes effect quickly. IV sedation can range from minimal to deep depending on how much medication is given. Patients who receive IV sedation may not remember the procedure when they wake up, but they will be able to respond to commands from the dentist.

Sedation dentistry has many benefits, including reducing anxiety and pain during dental procedures, shortening the length of the procedure, and allowing patients to be comfortable throughout. It is important to talk to your dentist about sedation dentistry if you are anxious or fearful about upcoming dental treatments.

Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

Patients who undergo sedation dentistry report high levels of satisfaction with their procedures. In fact, many say they feel more relaxed during their appointment than they ever have before at the dentist’s office. Here are some of the top benefits of sedation dentistry:

  • You’ll feel more relaxed.
  • The procedure will be over before you know it.
  • You won’t remember the appointment afterward.
  • it’s great for people with dental anxiety or a fear of the dentist.
  • You won’t have to worry about any pain during the procedure.

Types of Sedation Used in Dentistry

There are four main types of sedation used in dentistry: oral, inhaled (nitrous oxide), intravenous (IV) and general anesthesia. The type of sedation your dentist recommends will depend on the procedure being performed, your level of anxiety and your medical history.

Oral sedation is taken in pill form about an hour before your appointment. It will make you drowsy but you will still be awake and able to communicate with your dentist. Inhaled sedation, also known as laughing gas, is inhaled through a mask during your procedure. It relaxes you but does not put you to sleep. Intravenous sedation is delivered through a small IV in your arm and will make you feel more relaxed than oral or inhaled sedation but you may not remember much of the procedure afterwards. General anesthesia puts you to sleep for the duration of the procedure.

Your dentist will discuss the best type of sedation for you based on the procedure being performed, your level of anxiety and your medical history.

Preparing for Your First Sedation Appointment

Preparing for your first sedation appointment is an important part of the process. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you have a list of all the medications you’re currently taking – both prescription and over-the-counter. This will help the dentist determine which type of sedation is right for you.
  • Eat a light meal before your appointment. Sedation can cause nausea, so it’s best to not have a full stomach.
  • Wear comfortable clothing. You’ll be lying down for most of the procedure, so loose, comfortable clothing is ideal.
  • Arrive early. This will give you time to fill out any necessary paperwork and relax before your procedure begins.

During the Appointment: What to Expect

When you arrive for your appointment, you will be asked to sign a consent form. This form outlines the risks and benefits of sedation dentistry and gives your dentist permission to provide sedation.

You will then be asked to sit in the dental chair and given a small pill to take by mouth. The pill is usually an anti-anxiety medication or a sleep aid. Within 20-30 minutes, you should begin to feel relaxed and drowsy.

Your dentist will then proceed with the dental treatment while you remain in the dental chair. You may be awake during the procedure but will likely not remember much about it afterward.

Once the procedure is over, you will be allowed to sit up and drink some water. You will then be monitored for a short time before being released to go home. It is important that someone else drive you home after your appointment as you will not be able to do so yourself.

After the Appointment: Recovery and Follow up Care

After your sedation dentistry appointment, it is important to have someone drive you home and stay with you for at least the next few hours. During this time, it is best to avoid any strenuous activity, alcohol, or driving. You may experience some drowsiness and should not operate any machinery or make any important decisions until the effects of the sedation have worn off. For the first 24 hours after your appointment, it is also important to drink plenty of fluids and avoid hot foods or drinks.

If you experience any pain or discomfort after your appointment, over-the-counter pain medication can usually help. However, if the pain is severe or persists for more than a few days, be sure to call your dentist. It is also important to keep an eye on your teeth and gums for the next few days and report any changes to your dentist right away.

If you had sedation dentistry with nitrous oxide (laughing gas), you will be able to drive yourself home and resume normal activities immediately after your appointment.

Possible Side Effects of Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry is generally very safe, but as with any medical procedure, there are potential risks and side effects. The most common side effect of sedation dentistry is drowsiness, which can last for a few hours after the procedure. Other possible side effects include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Blurred vision
  • Rash
  • Allergic reaction

 Rare side effects include: -Cardiac arrest

  •  Respiratory depression
  •  Kidney failure
  •  Coma

While these side effects are rare, it is important to be aware of them before undergoing sedation dentistry. Be sure to discuss any concerns you have with your dentist or oral surgeon prior to your procedure.

Alternatives to Sedation Dentistry

If you’re nervous about your first sedation dentistry appointment, there are a few alternatives that may help put you at ease. One option is to choose a “twilight sedation,” which uses a lower dose of medication and will leave you feeling drowsy but not completely asleep. This type of sedation is often used for simple procedures like fillings or teeth cleanings.

If you have a more complex procedure, you may be given a general anesthetic, which will put you into a deep sleep. This is usually only done for very long or invasive procedures, such as wisdom tooth removal.

Finally, there’s nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, which is one of the most popular types of sedation dentistry. Nitrous oxide is inhaled through a mask and helps you relax while the dentist works. The effects wear off quickly once the mask is removed, so you can drive yourself home after your appointment.


Sedation dentistry can be an incredibly helpful tool for those who suffer from dental anxiety. We hope that this step-by-step guide has provided you with all the information needed to make your first sedation dentistry appointment a success. Make sure to ask questions, follow your dentist’s instructions, and prepare yourself mentally in order to ensure the best possible experience. With proper preparation and care, you can look forward to a comfortable and successful visit at the dentist!


Q. What is sedation dentistry?

A. Sedation dentistry is the use of medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. It can be used for a variety of procedures, from simple cleanings to more complex procedures like root canals or wisdom tooth extractions.

Q. How does it work?

A. Sedation dentistry usually involves the administration of medication through an IV, which helps the patient to relax and sometimes even fall asleep during the procedure. The level of sedation will be determined by the dental team based on the procedure being performed and the individual patient’s needs.

Q. Who can benefit from sedation dentistry?

A. Patients who have anxiety or fear about going to the dentist may benefit from sedation dentistry. It can also be helpful for patients who have difficulty getting numb, have a very sensitive gag reflex, or need to have multiple dental procedures done in one visit.

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