Use of Sedation & General Anesthesia
While the use of a local anesthetic to prevent pain is
sufficient for many dental patients, sedation or general anesthesia
may be appropriate to ensure the safe, efficient and competent
delivery of dental procedures.
Sedation or general anesthesia is determined on a case-by-case
basis and may be recommended for patients that:
- Experience high anxiety due to fear or low tolerance to pain -
it can help to prevent or address dental phobias (fear of the
- Have an allergy to local aesthetic or for whom local anesthetic
is not effective in pain control;
- Require complex or invasive dental procedures, or dental
procedures that would otherwise require multiple visits if
performed without sedation;
- Experience a choking sensation (an exaggerated gag reflex), or
have difficulty opening their mouth for a sustained period of
- Are unable to remain still during the dental treatment (due to
a mental or physical disability);
- Are medically compromised or have special health care
Any decision regarding sedatives is based on an individual
assessment and discussion with your dentist. Also, learn more about the use of sedation and general anesthesia in treating children.
Is sedation and general anesthesia safe?
What are the effects of sedation or general anesthesia?
What is the most common method of sedation?
The most common form of sedation in dentistry is the use of
minimal sedation, such as nitrous oxide (by inhaling through a
mask) or taking a sedative, such as Ativan, to relax the patient.
Nitrous oxide is provided in conjunction with oxygen. It enables a
patient to maintain consciousness in a sedated state. As the level
of sedation increases it may be used in conjunction with other
medications to temporarily increase its effectiveness, and may
cause a little drowsiness.
Review the complete FAQ on Sedation and General Anesthesia.