Sedation Dentistry

Sedation DentistryTalking about sedation and pain free dentistry 

Timberlake Dental recognizes that the most common psychological barrier for patients facing dental treatment of any kind is all tied up with pain and pain phobia.

Many dental treatments only require local anesthesia and do not require any sedation yet nervous patients will often prefer to undergo dental procedures with a little sedation.  With all the valuable services a dentist can provide, such as those provided by a Cerec dentist or a cosmetic dentist, it’s important to get past issues of pain.

Image Courtesy of Flickr – quasireversible

It is important to understand that if you are one of those people with a significant fear of treatment by a dentist, you need to share this with us.  We can help!

Fear of pain leads dental patients to evasive behavior.  According to DOCS (The Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation) – apprehension leads 30% of the population to postpone visiting the dentist indefinitely – resulting in damage to teeth and gums that could easily have been avoided!  This apprehension could manifest in a combination of fears of needles, injections, drills, certain sounds and even the bright overhead lights in dental treatment rooms.

This does not mean the patient will feel pain.  On the contrary, once the patient is put to sleep by a sedation dentist, we are able to administer an injection without the patient feeling anything at all.  Often it is the fear itself that causes the patient the most discomfort, so modern dentistry offers a range of solutions not only to eliminate pain but also to conquer those dental phobias that hold patients back from building a great relationship with their dentist and getting the very best treatment for their teeth and gums.

A range of sedation choices are open to patients: oral; intravenous; inhalation and intramuscular options are all readily available. General anesthetic is possible but usually a last resort for extremely anxious cases.

Nitrous Oxide Sedation or Inhalation Conscious Sedation

This is also known as ‘laughing gas.’ It is a gas inhalation of Nitrous Oxide (N2O) and Oxygen (O2) and for nervous patients it has represented a lifeline since 1772 when the enterprising Humphrey Davy experimented with its analgesic qualities while suffering with a toothache and gum infection. Good ole’ Humphrey!

As the nickname suggests, the gas produces fun feelings of warmth and euphoria, even flotation!  Odorless and colorless, it is easy to administer and popular with anyone harboring one of those nasty phobias.  Some patients experience pleasant smells such as cotton candy or pineapple while under the influence of N2O/O2.

Oral Conscious Sedation

This is a widely used method of sedation used in the US and Canada.  It is easy to administer, does not require needles to be used and creates a quiet and tranquil aura for the patient – many feel they have slept through the experience though in fact a level of consciousness is retained and the patient is able to cooperate fully throughout treatment.

For patients with more serious symptoms of anxiety dentists might recommend a sedative the night before treatment.  Sedatives prescribed could be Benadryl, Valium or Halcion.  Patients on overnight sedation should not drive a car or operate machinery.

It is usual that procedures carried out under Oral Conscious Sedation also include an oral injection.  However, this commonly passes unnoticed by patients experiencing a numb and assuring calm. It is generally acknowledged that Inhalation Conscious Sedation is the most effective choice to relieve mild dental anxiety.

IV Conscious Sedation

Intravenous Conscious Sedation is probably the safest and most effective method of sedation we offer in our office.  Because the medication is administered intravenously, the level of sedation can be increased and reduced much quicker and safer.  Dentists that administer this technique receive advanced training and certification in sedation and Advanced Cardiac Life Support.  One of the advantages of using this method of sedation for seriously anxious patients is that there is a certain level of amnesia attained.  The patient’s vital signs are monitored at all times during sedation for increased safety.

Intramuscular Conscious Sedation

This type of sedation is commonly used when there is difficulty starting an IV– a sedative is injected into the upper arm or thigh, producing effective sedation in around half an hour.  Again, dentists using this kind of sedation should be trained and certified accordingly.


Many dental insurance providers will cover sedation to some degree, but each insurance plan is different.  We will be happy to assist you in determining what coverage you have for your treatment.

Timberlake Dental provides all aspects of modern sedation methods.