October 11, 2021

5 Myths About Sedation Dentistry


Dental sedation is an incredibly useful tool that we employ in our dental office to ensure that our patients are relaxed and worry-free while we perform dental treatments, no matter how big or small. A calm patient allows us to get more work done in fewer appointments, which saves you money. 

There are so many benefits to dental sedation but unfortunately, there are also many persistent myths surrounding the conversation of dental sedation. This blog from Waterfront Dental is going over and refuting the 5 biggest dental sedation myths.

1. Sedation Is Only for Pain, Anxiety, Or Complicated Procedures

While it’s true that sedation is very commonly used for patients who suffer from low pain tolerance and dental anxiety, or for complicated procedures such as oral surgery, sedation’s uses extend far past these niche scenarios. 

Did you know that sedation can suppress a strong gag reflex? This allows us to perform dental treatments on the rear molars in patients with a sensitive gag reflex. It can also help patients who suffer from restlessness and have a hard time sitting still. This is particularly helpful when working with young children. 

Other benefits of sedation include making the patient feel comfortable and at ease, allowing them to forget what happened during the appointment, controlling involuntary movements, and helping patients sit for long procedures with their mouths open. Sedation is used for complicated procedures as well as very minor routine dental appointments.

2. Sedation Is Not Safe For Children

The idea that sedation is only reserved for the adult population is patently false. Nitrous oxide is a commonly used form of sedation for children. This type of sedation works by administering a flow of oxygen and nitrous oxide through a nasal mask that is inhaled by the patient. 

Nitrous oxide is considered the safest and least invasive form of sedation for adults and children. The effects of the sedative are mild, have a quick onset, and fade within minutes after treatment. 

After the dental treatment is complete, a steady flow of oxygen will flood the mask to get rid of any remnants of nitrous oxide gas and the patient will very quickly feel back to normal. The most common issue associated with this form of sedation is feelings of nausea which is more likely to happen if the patient did not fast for the recommended 2 hours leading up to the appointment.

3. General Anesthesia Is The Only Type Of Sedation

General anesthesia is a well-known form of sedation that we commonly see talked about or referred to on tv. However, there are many other more common sedatives, such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation. 

These sedatives are milder than general anesthesia and do not put the patient to sleep, though they may cause feelings of sleepiness. The main difference between general anesthesia and these other sedatives is that you are fully conscious and aware of your surroundings when you are given these sedatives and you can respond. During general anesthesia, you are put under and will not awake until the treatment is complete. You will have no memory after general anesthesia, whereas you may or may not remember the treatment when receiving milder sedatives.

4. Nitrous Oxide Will Make You Giddy

Nitrous oxide is also referred to as “laughing gas” but that doesn’t mean that the sedative makes patients super giggly. The effects of nitrous oxide include feeling relaxed, calm, and a sense of euphoria. Patients may feel a tingling sensation and will be fully conscious during their dental treatment. You may or may not fall asleep, but if you do, it will be easy to wake you. 

5. Anyone Is a Suitable Candidate for Sedation

Sedation is great for many people for many reasons but is not suitable for everybody. Patients with certain medical conditions, take certain medications, are in poor health, or who are pregnant or breastfeeding are not good candidates for sedation.

This is why your dentist will ask you about any medical conditions or medications you are taking before deciding if sedation is right for you. If you are deemed a suitable candidate for sedation, you will be given instructions on how to prepare beforehand, such as whether or not you need to fast or if you can take other medications.

Sedation Dentistry at Waterfront Dental in Baltimore

Do you suffer from dental anxiety? Do you have a low pain tolerance, sensitive gag reflex, or trouble sitting through long procedures? Dental sedation can help calm your nerves, making you feel at ease and a little sleepy. 

You likely won’t even remember the treatment once the sedative has worn off. At Waterfront Dental, we offer nitrous oxide, oral, and IV sedation. If you would like to be sedated, contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Dawn Merguerian today.

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