Sedation Dentistry

Patient under dental sedation


Sedation dentistry refers to the use of medication to help relax patients during dental procedures. Sedation can take a number of different forms, and it’s useful in a variety of situations. If you’re curious about sedation, here’s an overview of the basics.


Types of Dental Sedation

Generally, dental sedation falls into one of the four following categories:

  • Minimal Sedation: Typically, this involves taking an anti-anxiety medication before your dental appointment. As the work happens, you are awake and aware, but you feel very relaxed.
  • Moderate Sedation: Sometimes called conscious sedation, this can also involve medicine taken just before your appointment. However, you may slur your words or experience other effects, and afterwards, you may not remember the procedure.
  • Deep Sedation: With this option, you are just on the brink of unconsciousness, but you can still be awoken. Generally, the dentist or oral surgeon administers this anesthesia intravenously.
  • General Anesthesia: Also called “going under”, this is when you are unconscious for the dental procedure, and you also tend to receive the anesthesia through an IV.


Dental Anesthesia

Dental anesthesia can be administered in a range of ways. Inhaled anesthesia or laughing gas is the most popular form of dental anesthesia. There is also local dental anesthesia which numbs the feeling of the dental work in your mouth. As indicated above, oral sedation or taking a pill is another option. Finally, there is intravenous dental anesthesia.


Who Needs Dental Anesthesia

If you have any of the following symptoms or issues, you may want to consider dental anesthesia:

  • You have a low pain threshold
  • You can’t sit still for long periods of time
  • You have an aversion to someone working in your mouth
  • You have a strong gag reflex
  • You routinely skip dental work due to dental fears or anxiety


Additionally, even if you don’t suffer from any of the above issues, if you need to get a lot of work done, you may want to consider dental sedation. Even for people with a high pain threshold, extensive dental work can be uncomfortable without sedation.


Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety is a relatively common condition. In fact, between 9 and 21 percent of adults avoid the dentist due to anxiety. However, dental issues only get worse when ignored, and sedation dentistry may be able to help.


Where Can You Get Sedation Dentistry?

Some types of sedation dentistry are widely available. For instance, all dentists can administer nitrous oxide, and most dentists can prescribe oral sedation medications for adults. However, only a few dentists can prescribe oral sedation to children, and a very small number of dentists can use deep sedation or general anesthesia. In order to administer these sedation methods, the dentist must complete a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) program. Our Board Certified oral surgeons can administer safe sedation through our anesthesia machine. We even have a backup generator for the safety of all of our patients.


At Greater Atlanta Oral Facial Surgery, our team consists of highly qualified dentists and oral surgeons who can administer the full range of sedation dentistry options. We are also the only oral surgery office in the state to be certified by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC), which means we adhere to guidelines that give our patients a superior level of safety. To learn more, contact us directly.


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