Dental phobias can get in the way of in-office care, which is why the dentist may offer sedation services. Sedation dentistry has various options depending on the treatment, and understanding these will help you know what to expect at your appointment. Below is a helpful guide you can use alongside your dentist’s guidance.

What to Know About Sedation Dentistry & In-Office Procedures

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation is used to relax the patient. It’s generally a pill that is taken several hours before the procedure. It doesn’t put patients to sleep—you’ll have full awareness throughout the procedure but no anxiety. A dentist may recommend this for a cavity-filled procedure, root canal, or even a general exam if the patient suffers from extreme anxiety.

Oral sedation is more difficult to control since the dentist can only adjust the dosage rather than the levels, which is why it’s mostly used to relax patients.

Inhalation Sedation

sedation dentistryInhalation sedation uses nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas, to relax the patient. The dentist administers it through an inhaler mask throughout the procedure, and it has almost an immediate effect. You’ll still be aware, able to respond to the dental hygienist, and calm.

It’s used as an alternative to oral sedation for patients that are unable to take medication and wears off as soon as the inhaler mask is removed.

IV Sedation

IV sedation delivers sedatives and other supplements directly to your bloodstream during a procedure. This gives the dentist complete control. Basic IV sedation can be used to keep you calm during root canal therapy, scaling and root planing, or wisdom tooth extraction. 

This option can also make you unconscious during dental implant surgery and other extensive treatments that demand the patient to be immobile. This form of sedation dentistry takes longer to wear off, so you’ll want somebody to drive you home from your appointment.


Don’t let dental anxiety prevent you from the treatment you need. The team at Waterford Dental Health is proud to offer sedation dentistry services and makes patient comfort a priority. They use state-of-the-art treatments at their Waterford, CT, office, including orthodontic care, dental implants, and tooth crowns. You can learn about their services on their website or call (860) 447-2235 to schedule an appointment.