Common Levels of Sedation Dentistry

Sedation Dentist Charlotte, NC

Sedation dentistry is the sector in which dentists ease patients' nerves, fears, and anxieties with different methods. These methods vary from light to severe, depending on the patient's dental anxiety, procedure, and the dentist's recommendation. Understanding the different sedation dentistry methods can be helpful for patients preparing for an upcoming procedure. Ultimately, the dentist will determine what option is most suitable. 

Nitrous oxide

The lowest and most common form of sedation dentistry is nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. Nitrous oxide is administered via a mask, which delivers the gas into the nose. Within minutes, the patient is able to relax and remain calm throughout the procedure.

What to know

Nitrous oxide is safe and lasts for about 30-45 minutes. In some cases, the dentist may recommend another round of nitrous oxide if the procedure will extend past an hour. 

Oral medication

Oral medications in sedation dentistry are divided into two sectors, with the first being "sleeping pills" and the other being anti-anxiety pills. Anti-anxiety medications simply relieve fears and nerves, whereas the sleep-inducing medications typically result in the patient being asleep. The medication is typically taken a little bit before the procedure starts as it usually takes a few minutes to kick in. 

What to know

The difference between sleeping pills and general anesthesia is that the patient is actually unconscious when under anesthesia, whereas sleeping pills simply induce sleep. Sleeping pills are a lot easier to consume than an IV and the effects do not linger for nearly as long. 

IV sedation

IV sedation is one of the highest levels offered in a dentistry setting. An anti-anxiety medication is administered intravenously throughout the course of the procedure. This medication helps to ease fears and reduce anxiety. 

What to know

While IV sedation dentistry is commonly referred to as "sleep dentistry," it does not actually induce sleep, for the most part. Instead, patients are typically awake during the procedure and the IV sedation administration, but they are relaxed. 

General anesthesia

General anesthesia is known to be the highest level of sedation offered in dentistry. Just like in medical situations, general anesthesia is administered intravenously prior to the start of the procedure. The medication given puts the patient to sleep, thus making them unconscious for the entirety of the procedure. 

What to know

While safe, general anesthesia is a method of sedation dentistry that has lingering effects. Patients are typically advised to arrange transportation afterward as it is not safe to operate motor vehicles. 

Find out more

When preparing to have oral cavity work done, it may be best to consider sedation dentistry for your situation. The first step to take is to consult with a dentist who offers sedation. The patient can also ask questions and go over existing concerns, which can be helpful when navigating through the sedation dentistry process. To learn more about sedation dentistry methods, reach out today. 

Request an appointment here: or call ART Dentistry at (704) 405-1523 for an appointment in our Charlotte office. 

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Sedation Dentistry in Charlotte, NC.

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