Dental sedation, also known as sleep dentistry, is a great way to have a relaxing experience when having an oral procedure done. Whether you're preparing for oral surgery or simply looking for ways to relieve your anxiety in the examination chair, an experienced dentist can offer several types of sedation to fit your needs and create a positive atmosphere. To learn more about what to expect from this process, review the following frequently asked questions.

Common Questions About Sleep Dentistry

What is sedation dentistry?

Sleep dentistry is the use of medication to allow patients to relax during dental visits. There are different levels of sedation that a dentist will offer, with minimal sedation leaving you awake but relaxed, and general anesthesia rendering you completely unconscious. The level of sedation you receive is up to you and your dentist.

Is it safe?

sleep dentistrySedation dentists have a lot of experience with sleep dentistry. They'll ask you some medical questions, review your health, and determine whether you're a good candidate for the procedure. They'll also decide what dose of medication is right for you based on your age and weight. Feel free to ask questions during this consultation, so you feel secure about the process.

What types of sedation are available?

Nitrous oxide is a light form of anesthesia that helps manage mild pain and anxiety during dental work. When receiving this medication, you'll breathe in a combination of oxygen and nitrous oxide through a mask.

Conscious sedation is a moderate form of sleep dentistry, as it relaxes you but doesn't put you completely to sleep. Instead, you might slur your words or not remember that a procedure happened at all. To administer the drug, a dentist will numb your arm with a paste before inserting an IV.

General anesthesia causes you to be unconscious during the entire procedure, so you won't remember anything when you wake up. Similar to conscious sedation, your arm will be numbed before an IV is inserted. This option is usually reserved for complicated dental work.

Am I a good candidate for sedation dentistry?

Sleep dentistry isn't necessary for the majority of patients. However, some cases might require sedation. You may qualify for sedation if you:

  • Have a low pain threshold

  • Have a dental phobia

  • Don’t respond well to local anesthetic

  • Have very sensitive teeth or a strong gag reflex

  • Need a long or difficult dental procedure


If you’re interested in sleep dentistry, the professional staff at All Smiles Harrisonburg in Virginia can answer all of your questions and put your mind at ease. They offer nitrous oxide, conscious sedation, and deep sedation options when they perform surgeries, including dental implants, denture fittings, and wisdom teeth removal. For more information about their offerings, visit their website or call (540) 432-1300.