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If you are someone who suffers from high anxiety when it’s time to go to the dentist – even for simple cleanings and routine procedures – you may be interested to hear the benefits of sedation dentistry. In the past few decades, there have been great advancements in the sedation that your dentist can offer you. From laughing gas to local anesthetic to being put under general anesthetic, look into the options that can make your trip to the dentist less difficult.

Types of Sedation

When you talk to your dentist about types of dental sedation, ask as many questions as you want! Anything that comes to mind. The entire purpose of going this route is to feel more comfortable with going to the dentist regularly, so make sure that you ask whatever you need to to figure out which option is right for you.

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Nitrous Oxide (“Laughing Gas”)

One of the most common and long-term sedation types is to have the patient (you) inhale “laughing gas.” The sedation effects are short-term and by the time you leave, your mouth should begin to feel normal.

Local Anesthetics  

Often used in combination with the gas that you inhale, local anesthetics can be virtually painless injections that last longer and can be better targeted to a more specific area in the mouth. While there are fewer mental sedation effects (like “sleepiness”), the numbness in the injection area will last a few hours.

General Anesthesia

Dental sedation today includes a variety of general anesthesia options, depending on the need, the procedure being performed, and your comfort level. You can either experience a type of “conscious sedation” where you do not remember the procedure but are “awake enough” to respond to commands and questions. Or, you can choose a completely unconscious sedation experience for your sedation dentistry.



Believe it or not, some dentists are beginning to incorporate hypnosis into their sedation dentistry practices. Because many people are not eligible or are not inclined to use chemical sedation for their dentistry, some professionals are offering a non-medicinal option. Talk to your dentist about whether hypnosis as sedation dentistry is offered at their office.  

Benefit 1: Decreased Pain

All types of anesthetics decrease patient reports of pain. No matter whether you choose something short-term or longer-term, something local or general, you will experience a lower pain level than without anesthetic.

Benefit 2: Lower Anxiety

The sounds, smells, and sights at the dentist’s office can be triggering for many people’s anxieties. Unfortunately, throughout their lives, many people have had uncomfortable or even painful experiences at the dentist in the past. So today’s office visits can cause them anxiety. That’s understandable! The best way to relieve your anxiety about dentist visits is to take great care of your teeth on a daily basis. A simple cleaning, flossing, and overall checkup is the least anxiety-provoking experience you can have at the dentist’s office, so make that your goal.

However, using sedation dentistry options can reduce your anxiety even more. If you’re the type of person who becomes anxious at even the thought of going to the dentist, adding sedation to your regular visits can make them as easy as possible.

Benefit 3: Faster Recovery Time

Strong tooth pain may need equally strong sedation dentistry.
Strong tooth pain may need equally strong sedation.

When you’re experiencing a painful tooth situation – such as you are in need of an extraction or a root canal – anesthesia will aid your recovery. With local and general anesthetic, the dentist can do the best, most thorough job, and you will be able to ride the wave of the aesthetic from the dentist’s office for a while when you get home. Of course, your dentist can prescribe you pain medication, or you can use over-the-counter medicines, once you get home. Depending on the situation, you may be able to return to your normal activities the same day.

Is Sedation Dentistry Right for You?

We think it might be! Of course for some procedures, they are standard practice. You may want to discuss a stronger, less common type of sedation dentistry to accommodate you for your unique circumstances. Only a discussion with a dentist can truly tell you. Depending on your personal situation, history, and circumstances, you may never need to fear a trip to the dentist again.