Patients who consider sedation dentistry often have different reasons for their interest, such as the following:

  • Phobia related to dental procedures
  • Bad experience with dental work in the past
  • Particularly sensitive oral nerves
  • Small mouth that becomes sore during dental work
  • Resistance to local anesthetic
  • General anxiety disorder

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry refers to methods used to make the patient comfortable enough to get through needed dental treatment in a single session. Patients are able to have multiple procedures done and reduce visits to the dentist. Some patients suffer from stress and anxiety related to dental treatment-perhaps based on a bad experience or problems getting numb with local anesthetic. The idea is to make the planned dental treatment as comfortable and quick as possible.

Types of Sedation

Laughing Gas

Probably the most common form of sedation in the dental office is nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas.” Nitrous oxide does not put you to sleep, but is effective at reducing your anxiety about going to the dentist. It is very safe and can be administered by a machine to further reduce the anxiety or discomfort of the novacane injection (local anesthetic).

Oral Sedation

The next type of sedation comes in the form of a pill or liquid that you take orally an hour prior to the appointment. This is called enteral sedation. Like local anesthetics, oftentimes it is used in combination with nitrous oxide. You may still be awake, but not nervous about the dental work. A ride to and from the office should be planned when taking such medications.

IV Sedation

Intravenous (IV) sedation is another common method of sedation where anti-anxiety medication is directly injected to a vein. This will allow the dentist to provide a deeper sedation, although you will still be awake but less aware of the procedure. The process requires a friend or family member to bring you to and from the office due to recovery time/effects of the sedation.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is a form of sedation by which you will be asleep for the entire procedure. It is practiced using drugs that are directly injected into a vein, along with the possible inhalation of a gaseous anesthetic. This is the same kind of sedation method used for major surgery in a hospital setting. This level of sedation is not available in our practice but IV Sedation does put you into a ‘twilight sleep/awake’ state and works very well for patients who need it.

Training and Licensure

Although most dentists are qualified to administer nitrous oxide, other types of sedation require additional training, equipment and emergency supplies. And because the vast majority of the U.S. requires that the dentist have a sedation license to perform these techniques, not every office will provide the service you’d like. Our board certified periodontist Dr. Rafiee is licensed to perform sedation in the state of CA.

How should I prepare for sedation with dental treatment?

Dr. Talaie or Dr. Rafiee will fully discuss and prepare the patient prior to the appointment. For instance, we might ask you to fast — not eat or drink anything — for several hours before the dental work, arrange rides and aid in traveling to and from appointments. You might also need to avoid taking certain medications the day before you visit as they can interfere with the sedation medication. Depending on which method of sedation you choose will determine how you should prepare.

What is the cost of sedation dentistry?

Below is guide for the cost of sedation, fees are negotiable.

Oral sedation and monitoring $200-$500

IV sedation first 30 min $600

IV sedation every 15 after $125