What Is Dental Sedation?

Dec 13, 2022

What Is Dental Sedation?

Dental anxiety is one of the most common types of anxiety; approximately one out of every six Australians experience it at some point in their life. Unfortunately, those with high dental anxiety are more likely to put off important dental procedures, which can negatively impact their dental health.

Sedation is a solution that many practices use to help calm anxious patients during dental treatments. So, what exactly is dental sedation, and when should you use it? How does it work? Is dental sedation dangerous? How much does dental sedation cost? We’ll answer all these questions and more below.

Defining dental sedation

Also known as sedation dentistry and sleep dentistry, dental sedation is a useful tool for patients whose dental anxiety may make it difficult for them to get the care they need. Sleep dentistry can help alleviate common fears associated with dental work so that patients can relax and receive the care they need.
There are several different types of sedation dentistry. These can range from mild, conscious sedation, during which the patient is still awake, to general anesthetics, which will knock a person out. It can be used for everything from teeth cleaning to root canals or wisdom teeth removal.
Wondering how safe dental sedation is? You can rest easy knowing that sedation dentistry — especially lighter options like nitrous oxide or oral sedation — is perfectly safe for most patients.

Types of sedation dentistry

There are many types of dental sedatives and several different methods of distributing dental sedatives. The dentist chooses a level of sedation based on the patient, their medical history and the procedure they’re undergoing.

Heavy sedation

Dentists use general anesthesia when the patient needs to be deeply asleep or unconscious to complete a procedure. This dental sedative is usually injected into the arm or the hand by a trained anesthetist. Deep sedation is ideal for those with high dental anxiety who would not otherwise be able to have dental work done.

Moderate sedation

Conscious sedation is ideal for patients who need to be awake during a procedure but don’t wish to remember it afterwards. This type of sedation can help a nervous patient feel relaxed, yet it still leaves them lucid enough to follow directions. It is often administered through an IV.
Some forms of oral sedation are also considered moderate, as they leave the patient conscious and able to follow instructions but will also make them drowsy and forgetful.

Light sedation

Nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) is a form of inhaled minimal sedation. It is quick-acting and leaves the patient feeling relaxed and happy, making it a great tool for those who are a little anxious about their upcoming treatment. Anti-anxiety medication can also help patients feel more relaxed and less anxious before and during their treatment.

How much does it cost for dental sedation?

Sleep dentistry costs vary from practice to practice and may also be affected by the type of dental treatment, how long the patient needs to be sedated, what type of sedative is used, and other factors.

In Australia, IV sedation generally costs between $800-$1,600. These costs include not only the price of consumables such as nitrous oxide and oxygen sedation equipment but also compensation for the professionals who administer the sedative and monitor the patient. As a result, long and complicated procedures will cost much more than shorter treatments or milder sedatives. In some cases, dental sedation is covered by insurance.

Dental sedation FAQs

Is dental sedation safe?

All sedatives and anaesthetics carry some level of risk, and sedation dentistry is no exception. However, many of these risks are mitigated when sedation is provided by trained specialists.

How much is dental sedation?

That depends on the type. Most dentists are trained to administer nitrous oxide — one of the more accessible and affordable types of dental sedatives. Other sedation options require extra equipment, supplies and training. Deep sedation or general anesthesia requires trained anesthetists and dental sedation monitoring equipment.
What are the side effects of sedation dentistry?

Generally, dental sedation has minimal side effects, which may include:

  • Numbness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Pain
  • Nausea
  • Swelling
  • Nerve damage

Who can use dental sedation?

Sedation dentistry is ideal for a range of situations, including for people who:

  • Are afraid of going to the dentist
  • Have a sensitive gag reflex, gums or teeth
  • Find it difficult to stay stationary during their appointment
  • Are undergoing a long or difficult dental procedure
  • Have a lower pain threshold

Some people are not eligible for sedation dentistry. These may include people who are pregnant, overweight, taking certain medications or have underlying health conditions. The dentist will be able to help patients determine which sedation options are right for them.

Discover affordable dental sedation equipment online

Here at Mega Medical, we’re proud to provide a range of high-quality sedation dentistry equipment, including portable sedation system packages and portable flowmeter packages.

For help finding the right dental sedation equipment, or for questions or enquiries, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team today.