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6 Myths About Sedation Dentistry

October 21, 2021

While dental anxiety is very common, it can be debilitating and cause patients to neglect their oral health by putting off necessary dental treatments. The more you avoid the dentist, the greater your risk is of developing tooth decay and gum disease. 

Dental sedation allows the dentist to get more work done in fewer appointments while you feel relaxed and at ease. However, there are a lot of myths surrounding dental sedation that we’re going to be debunking in this blog from Southington Dentistry. Read on to find out why the 6 biggest myths about dental sedation are untrue.

1 - There’s Only One Type of Sedation

When people hear the word “sedation” they often immediately think of general anesthesia. While general anesthesia is more well-known due to its popular use for oral surgery such as wisdom tooth removal, many other forms of sedation don’t involve putting you under. 

The other types of sedation commonly used in dentistry are Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas), IV sedation, and oral conscious sedation. These other sedatives are used much more frequently than general anesthesia, which is usually reserved for more complex procedures. 

2 - Sedation is Unsafe

The idea that sedation is harmful to adults and especially children is a misguided myth. While more intense forms of sedation such as general anesthesia carry more risks because they are more involved and have a higher potential risk for complications, many other forms of sedation are very commonly used even on children.

These more mild sedatives are generally considered safe for most people. Nitrous oxide is the safest form of sedation and is most commonly used in children. Before agreeing to sedate a patient, we go through the patient’s medical history, any medications they are taking, and the current state of their overall health to determine if they are a suitable candidate for sedation.

Sedation is administered by a board-certified professional and we closely monitor dental patients throughout the entire procedure to ensure that nothing goes wrong. By going through your medical history, we can determine your suitability for different types of sedation.

3 - Sedation is Suitable for Everyone

While sedation is considered perfectly safe when administered properly by a qualified professional, certain medical conditions can limit your ability to receive certain sedatives. 

Pregnant women, patients with allergies, a history of radiation therapy, nervous system issues, and taking certain medications are some of the medical conditions that would pose complications with certain sedatives. For this reason, sedation may be discouraged or you may be advised to discuss this with your doctor. 

4 - Sedation Puts You Right to Sleep

The only sedative that puts a patient directly to sleep is general anesthesia. While all sedatives tend to cause drowsiness, relaxation, and may cause you to fall asleep, it will be easy to wake you up and you will be aware of your surroundings. You’ll even be able to respond to instructions or answer questions. You may not fall asleep at all, but when given the appropriate dose to ease your anxiety and make you feel relaxed, it is common to drift off into a light slumber.

5 - Sedation is Only for Complex or Painful Procedures

While general sedation is reserved for more complex procedures, other more mild sedatives are routinely used for more simple dental treatments such as fillings, cleanings, root canals, and cosmetic treatments. 

Nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation are commonly used to relieve dental anxiety and stress, especially in children who are more prone to dental anxiety. Sedation has many other benefits as well.

It is useful for patients with a strong gag reflex, low pain tolerance, sensitive teeth, restlessness, dental trauma, or just want the time to go faster. Sedation allows us to get more work done in a shorter period by relaxing patients with severe anxiety and helping restless kids sit still.

6 - Only Adults Can Be Sedated

Not only is this not true, but kids are often the most commonly sedated demographic. Dental anxiety is very common in children. They may be very fearful of the dentist, not know what to expect, or have difficulty sitting still. 

Nitrous oxide is very commonly used to sedate children because it is a very safe and mild sedative that causes relaxation and euphoria. Children can even undergo general anesthesia if they are in good overall health. However, this would only be necessary for more complex dental work such as oral surgery.

Sedation Dentistry at Southington Dentistry


If you suffer from dental anxiety, a strong gag reflex, tooth sensitivity, low pain tolerance, or restlessness, sedation can put you at ease, make you feel relaxed, and before you know it the treatment will be over and you likely won’t remember anything. To find out more about dental sedation and if it’s right for you, contact us at Southington Dentistry to schedule an appointment with Dr. Neil Salesky.

Southington Dentistry | Teeth Whitening, Sedation Dentistry and Clenching and Grinding

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