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Although the dental industry has been around for years, there's a large group of people who are afraid of getting dental work done. It's not only kids who are fearful of dental procedures because even older ones are seen to run away from the clinic. Think of all the tools and apparatuses used and the idea of having your mouth wide open for many minutes. Whether it's a tooth extraction, dental implant, or even oral prophylaxis, dental services can be such a major scare for some.

The good thing is that sedation has also been introduced in the world of dentistry, where it helps patients relax during a dental procedure. In this article, we will delve deeper into sedation dentistry:

Sedation dentistry in a nutshell

It essentially entails administering sedative drugs to relax a patient and reduce their anxiety during a dental procedure. While it is sometimes called sleep dentistry, know that patients are awake yet sober and relaxed. Only one type renders the patient completely unconscious, which is a general anesthesia.

Levels of sedation

First, let's take a look at the level of sedation administered by your dentist, depending on the type of procedure:

  • Minimal sedation: This can be described by being awake yet relaxed.
  • Moderate sedation: Formerly known as conscious sedation, this leads a patient to not remember much of the procedure.
  • Deep sedation: This puts the patient on the edge of consciousness yet is still awake.
  • General anesthesia: This leads a patient completely being knocked out.

People who need sedation

In general, sedation is administered to people who have real fear or anxiety that stops them from undergoing a procedure. For the most part, it is given to children who are terrified of going to the dentist. However, take note that sedation dentistry may also be appropriate for the following cases:

  • Patients with low pain threshold
  • Patients who can't sit still in the dentist's chair
  • Patients with very sensitive teeth
  • Patients with a bad gag reflex
  • Patients needing extensive treatments

Forms of sedation used in dentistry

Keep in mind that various forms of sedation can be administered to patients for dental works. Below are some typically used in dentistry:

  • Oral sedation: This can range from minimal to moderate, depending on the required dosage. For minimal sedation, you can take a pill an hour before the procedure, such as Halcion, which is a drug family of Valium. For moderate sedation, you can take a larger dose where you'll feel groggy enough to fall asleep during the procedure.
  • Inhaled minimal sedation: This entails breathing nitrous oxide, commonly known as the laughing gas, along with oxygen. A mask is placed over your nose to breathe the gas to make you relax until the procedure is completed.
  • IV moderate sedation: This sedative drug is administered through the vein, where it works rather quickly and allows your dentist to adjust the sedation level continually.
  • Deep sedation and general anesthesia: This provides you with medication that will leave you almost or completely unconscious. For general anesthesia, you won't easily be awakened, meaning that you will have to wait for the anesthesia to wear off.


Sedation has become a game changer in the dental industry, as it helps those who need to get treatments but are rather afraid to do so. Consider all the valuable information discussed above, such as the sedation levels used and the sedation forms being administered. Furthermore, be sure that your dentist is certified to perform sedation dentistry. Although most experts can administer minimal and moderate sedation, only a few are certified by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) to carry out deep sedation and general anesthesia.

Are you looking to get some dental work but are somewhat afraid to do so? We offer sedation dentistry in Ann Arbor, and our experts will handle your oral health with the utmost care. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation!

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Ann Arbor Dentist Office
Hours : Mon to Thur 9am - 6pm, Fri & Sat 9am - 3pm
Address : 4860 Washtenaw Ave D, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Waterford Dentist Office
Hours : Mon to Fri 9am - 6pm, Sat 9am - 3pm
Address : 5979 Highland Rd, Waterford Twp, MI 48327
West Bloomfield Dentist Office
Hours : Monday, Wednesday to Friday 9am - 6pm
Address : 6595 Orchard Lake Rd, West Bloomfield, MI 48322
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