Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry refers to the use of sedation during dental treatment. Sedation is most commonly used during extensive procedures, for patients with dental phobia or for patients who find it difficult to sit still. There are different types of sedation, including nitrous oxide ("laughing gas"), IV conscious sedation, and oral (light) sedation.

Procedures like fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, extractions, cosmetic procedures and periodontal treatments often require some sort of sedation (often local anesthesia to numb the area, or light sedation to help relax the patient).

Sedation dentistry is endorsed by the Canadian Dental Association and is an effective way to make many patients comfortable during their dental visit. Before using a sedative or anesthetic, it is important to tell your dentist about any medications or medical treatments you are receiving. Before administering any sedative or anesthetic, your dentist will talk to you about the process of sedation and pre-and post-sedation instructions.

"Laughing Gas"

Nitrous oxide, more commonly known as "laughing gas," is often used as a conscious sedative during a dental visit. The gas is administered with a mixture of oxygen and has a calming effect that helps phobic or anxious patients relax during their dental treatment. Because it is a mild sedative, patients are still conscious and can talk to their dentist during their visit. After treatment, the nitrous is turned off and oxygen is administered for 5-10 minutes to help flush any remaining gas. The effects wear off almost immediately. Nitrous oxide rarely has side effects, and if they do occur, they aren’t serious. Your doctor will provide you with pre-and post-sedation instructions.

Are you a candidate for sedation dentistry?

Almost anyone - adult, teen or child - is a candidate for sedation dentistry. It’s particularly useful for people with a fear of dental visits, or people with a history of anxiety/panicking, but it’s also preferred by people who would simply prefer to feel more relaxed during their treatment.