Sedation Dentistry

Many people don't mind seeing the dentist twice a year for regular checkups and cleanings. But some people are just the opposite - they will refuse to go even when they’re in pain and suffering. If you panic at the mere thought of someone even just looking inside your mouth with a tiny mirror, then you are not alone. However, leaving dental problems untreated often results in much more severe issues later on. Luckily, at Autumn Family Dentistry, we are equipped for various degrees of sedation dentistry.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is a safe technique that consists of various medications aimed to reduce anxiety and make you feel relaxed. The goal is to keep you conscious and responsive during treatment, but without your usual dental phobia getting in the way. The different levels of sedation available include:


With minimal sedation, you remain awake and aware of what is happening around you, but you should feel more relaxed. This option is ideal for patients with just a touch of anxiety. Usually, minimal sedation is achieved with nitrous oxide gas ("laughing gas").


Moderate sedation is achieved with medication given to you by the dentist to take orally. Sometimes, nitrous oxide gas is also added. You generally do not fall unconscious, but you may feel "foggy" during the procedure or may not experience or remember very much. This level of sedation requires you to bring a driver with you to your appointment.


Deep sedation is administered in a surgical facility. It is generally reserved for certain extensive procedures (such as surgical wisdom teeth extractions), young children who are unable to cooperate under minimal/moderate sedation, and adult patients with extreme dental phobia or certain disabilities.

How Does Sedation Work?

The type of sedation prescribed by the dentist depends not only on the patient's personality/anxiety levels but also on the nature of the procedure. There are three main routes of introducing the anti-anxiety/sedation medicines into the body:

Inhaled Minimal Sedation

You’ve probably heard stories about laughing gas. Laughing gas, better known as inhaled minimal sedation, is nitrous oxide combined with oxygen. Your dentist or dental assistant administers the gas through a mask placed over your nose. The gas helps you relax during the procedure. If the gas starts to wear off, the dentist can safely administer more. Since it wears off so quickly, you should be able to drive after the procedure.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation comes in the form of a pill. Depending on the medication you receive, this sedation will vary anywhere between minimal to moderate. The pill works in approximately one hour, making you feel groggy. You might start to doze off or fall completely asleep with oral sedation.

Deep Sedation

This is a Class IV anesthesia that allows you to go under during the procedure as if you’re in a deep sleep. Patients under deep sedation often wake up in disbelief that the procedure happened since the time passes so quickly. You will have no memory of the procedure, even after the sedation wears off.

If you believe that you may need an extraction or oral surgery, do not put it off any longer. Infected and/or damaged teeth may cause serious medical issues and complications if left untreated for an extended period of time. Please call us today to schedule your appointment.