Dental Sedation vs. Dental Anesthesia

When dentists talk about sedation dentistry, what exactly are they saying? Many patients aren’t aware of the differences between dental sedation and dental anesthesia. When we bring up sedation, we’re talking about something extra to relax our patients. If you’ve been putting off dental treatment due to anxiety, read on to learn more about the role both sedation and anesthesia will play in your appointment. A combination of the two will result in you feeling neither pain nor fear – which is what we want for every one of our patients.

Dental Sedation vs. Dental Anesthesia

When dentists talk about sedation dentistry, what exactly are they saying? Many patients aren’t aware of the differences between dental sedation and dental anesthesia. When we bring up sedation, we’re talking about something extra to relax our patients. If you’ve been putting off dental treatment due to anxiety, read on to learn more about the role both sedation and anesthesia will play in your appointment. A combination of the two will result in you feeling neither pain nor fear – which is what we want for every one of our patients.

Sedation Dentistry and Patient Comfort

While dental sedation is something additional that’s not always necessary, anesthetic is required whenever a procedure may be uncomfortable. Anesthetic blocks your nerves from receiving stimuli that signal pain. This numbs the area that’s being worked on so that you feel great in the dental chair.

Although dental anesthesia is provided to patients whenever there is a chance that they’ll feel any discomfort, we also try to numb the pain of the anesthetic injection. By treating the injection site with topical anesthetic prior to giving the shot, you’ll be numb to even the sting of the local anesthetic.

I’m scared of needles… how can I receive local anesthesia?

This is where sedation dentistry comes in. Dental sedation will relieve your anxiety and help you forget about exactly what’s going on in your mouth – without knocking you out. Different types of sedation have different effects on your body and nerves. A few of the most common include:

  • Nitrous oxide – Nitrous is a gas that, when inhaled, induces a euphoric but calm state. You’ll breathe a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen during treatment, and feel like yourself within a few hours.
  • Oral conscious sedation – Patients receiving oral sedation get a prescription ahead of their appointment and take a pill 1-2 hours prior to treatment. This will have them relaxed by the time they’re in the dental chair.

After receiving sedation, you’ll be completely comfortable with receiving anesthetic injections and with the full course of your treatment. Learn more about your options by getting in touch!