How Does Sedation Dentistry Work?

smiling male patient in dental exam chair


It’s our goal to make every visit to our office a positive experience for our patients. In most cases, our friendly team members, understanding dentists, and gentle care is enough to help those with dental anxiety feel at ease, but there are times when a patient may need a little extra help. For these circumstances, we offer safe sedation dentistry options to help you relax during your appointment.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is the most commonly used method of sedation in dentistry. It’s widely used throughout the world because of its track record of safety, which also makes it the first choice when it comes to sedation dentistry for children. Nitrous oxide sedation is very effective, with few risks or side effects. It starts working quickly and wears off just as fast, so you’ll be able to drive yourself home after your appointment. 

We use nitrous oxide for patients who need help relaxing during their dental treatments, whether it’s due to dental anxiety or because they’re undergoing extensive dental work. Before your procedure begins, a small mask is placed over your nose and you’ll inhale a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide through it. You’ll quickly find yourself feeling calmer and more comfortable, but you’ll remain fully conscious. 

You may experience feelings of tingling or heaviness in your arms and legs or light-headedness. Within minutes of removing the nitrous oxide mask, you’ll feel back to normal again.

Conscious Oral Sedation

Conscious oral sedation is an option we offer for patients who have dental phobia or more serious cases of anxiety. Dr. Pinero will prescribe an anti-anxiety medication for you to take just before your appointment. This oral sedative will put you into a deeply relaxed state, although just like with nitrous oxide, you’ll be conscious throughout your treatment. Some patients remember their entire dental procedure, while others have only partial recollections. 

Unlike nitrous oxide, oral sedation does not wear off quickly, which means you’ll need to make arrangements for someone to drive you to and from your appointment.

Is Sedation Dentistry Right for You?

If you have anxiety about an upcoming visit, there’s no need to feel embarrassed about asking us for dental sedation. We offer it for a reason—we want you to feel comfortable during your appointment! Because conscious oral sedation must be prescribed in advance and picked up from your pharmacy, we ask that you call us at least a few days before your procedure so we have time to speak with you and write your prescription.

Patients who have long histories of dental anxiety or phobia often need dental sedation during their first few visits with us, but as they become more comfortable, they find that they no longer need nitrous oxide or conscious oral sedation for future appointments.

Learn More About Sedation Dentistry

If you have questions about sedation dentistry, contact us today at 954-796-3355 to speak with one of our team members or to schedule an appointment.