About Sedation

Using Sedation in Dentistry

The standard of treating patients using sedation has already been set in the U.S. over the past 30 years by physicians. It is nothing new to patients for operations on knees, feet, wrists, ears, noses...everything.  A patient told me the other day that she had to go in for an MRI and that she was quite nervous, so her physician gave her some sedation. Patients ask dentists for sedation and the dentists do everything they can to talk them out of it. Most dentists do not want to go through the additional training and accreditation process that is necessary to sedate patients. You wouldn't think of having an ear or nose operation without sedation.  But, you move only inches to the teeth and it becomes acceptable to endure time-consuming, strenuous, noisy, and uncomfortable procedures on the most sensitive, personal part of the body (the mouth) with no sedation.  Dentists attempt to work outside of the already established standard of using sedation.  Hence, we as dentists treat only 50% of the population while physicians treat over 90%.  I have found that fearful patients mentally have no problem being sedated for dental treatment.  If you ask a nervous patient, "Would you rather have this work done in six appointments over the next two months or in one appointment with sedation?", and they look at you like you're crazy. "I’ll take the sedation" is all they say.  If you feel that sedation, which is the standard of care for the rest of the body, is necessary for your dental care, call us.

Types of Sedation 

The sedation we utilize is either Intravenous (IV) aka parenteral or oral sedation (pills) aka enteral.  The kind of sedation that we use depends upon the patients.

1. The patients needs and safety help us come the decision about the kind of sedation that we use.

2. With either kind of sedation, we can work on patients for a long period of time. 

3. Sedation is very safe. 

4. The sedatives can stay in a patient's system for several hours after the appointment, so we get few complaints of pain after procedures are completed.

How You Will FeelMost patients' perception of this conscious sedation technique is they feel that they have slept through the appointment. The most common comment that we hear is "I remember taking the pills or getting the IV and the next thing I remember is waking up with my teeth fixed." Most patients remember nothing about their treatment. A few will remember a little, usually at the end of the appointment, when we are getting them ready to go home. You MUST have someone bring you to our office on the day of your sedation appointment, and you MUST have someone take you home afterwards.


One of the reasons that we use our sedation techniques is because of its safety. The pill that we use is a common sleeping pill. In 1996, for example, 1,700,000 of these pills were taken by people on a daily basis. The vast majority of these tablets were taken by patients at home to help them sleep at night. We give our patients more than they would take at home. Our IV technique has an even longer history of safty use. Having been administered to patients for decades safely. we use state-of-the-art hospital-type monitoring equipment to assess the patient's pulse, oxygen saturation in the blood, blood pressure, and MAP Mean Arterial Pressure.


The only thing standing between you and getting the dental care you want is a couple of pills or a quick IV. It couldn't be simpler.

How does sedation dentistry work?

You are given a small pill to take an hour prior to your dental appointment or we will start an IV (usually in your arm or hand).  You cannot eat eight hours prior to the appointment.  Your companion will accompany you to the office. The second half of the pill(s) are given to you after the Doctor assesses your relaxation needs.  You will then become drowsy.  You will be escorted into the comfort room, covered with a thick, warm blanket and placed on a monitor to watch your vital signs.  After you are comfortable, Dr. Martin and his experienced clinical team will take expert care of your dental needs.  When your treatment is completed, your companion will accompany you home to finish your comfortable, relaxing day. You will probably not remember the visit.

Facts About Sedation Dentistry

Complex dental treatments that often require six to eight appointments can be done in as little as one with sedation dentistry!  All while you relax.  Sedation dentistry is a safe way to reduce the fatigue of extended dental treatment requiring long visits.  People who have difficulty getting numb will have no problem.  You will probably have little or no memory of the experience.  You won't remember any sounds or smells.  You can relax for up to five to six hours after taking the pill or getting the IV.  The time you are relaxing will vary depending on your needed treatment.  It is safe!  It really works!  You really can relax through your dental appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  Will I be unconscious?

A.  No, you are in a deeply relaxed state; you are responsive. 

Q.  Will I be monitored?

A.  Yes, one of our team is always with you, and your vital signs are monitored during the entire visit. You are never alone. 

Q.  How long will I be relaxing?

A.  Depending on your needs, from one to six hours. 

Q.  Will I feel any pain?

A.  No. You will feel nothing! 

Q.  Will someone need to accompany me?

A.  Yes, due to the sedative effects of the medication, you will need someone to drive you to our office and home again.

Who is a candidate?

People who. . . 

  1. have had traumatic dental experiences
  2. have high anxiety regarding dental treatment
  3. have complex dental problems
  4. have difficulty getting numb
  5. have limited time to complete their dental care
  6. have a bad gag reflex
  7. have very sensitive teeth
  8. hate the noises, smells and tastes associated with dental care

...are all suitable candidates.

© Dr. Mitchell T. Martin 2013