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Sedation Options

Sometimes, it just takes a little helping hand to get the treatment you need.

Logo for dental sedation and sleep dentistry at a dentist for nervous or anxious patients

Most of the time, we can help you to feel comfortable at the dentist by listening to your concerns, giving control back to you and by creating an environment as stress-free as possible.

Sometimes, you may need a little extra help to fully relax. 

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation is the easiest and the cheapest method of taking the edge off mild anxiety. A family of drugs, namely benzodiazepines (Valium, Lorazepam, Halcion etc), have a long history of use in dentistry for treating anxiety. A tablet is usually taken an hour prior to your procedure, allowing you to feel more at ease during an otherwise stressful dental visit. The tablet will not render you unconscious, but many patients experience sleepiness or tiredness until the effects wear off. Ultimately, you’re fully awake yet less anxious. Oral sedation may leave you feeling a little drowsy and carefree after the procedure, so it is necessary to arrange a friend or family member to drive you to and from your appointment. This option is suitable for somebody with mild anxiety, but it will not be effective if your anxiety is severe. Most people describe it as “taking the edge off my fear”. 

Inhalation sedation aka Happy Gas

Nitrous oxide, also known as "Happy Gas" or "Laughing Gas" has become the ‘go-to’ of sedation in dentistry. It has similar effects to benzodiazepines in that it makes you lightheaded, calm, and euphoric. Happy Gas works by breathing nitrous oxide. It allows you to feel relaxed while in the chair, and this can make everything that bit easier. People can also recall their positive experiences as happy gas doesn’t affect their memory. This can help build confidence, trust and self-belief. It is easy to use, starts working quickly and wears off quickly as well, meaning you should be able to drive home after your appointment.

IV Sedation aka Sleep Dentistry

Intravenous (IV) sedation, commonly referred to as “sleep dentistry”, is a type of anaesthesia that is administered through a vein by a qualified sedationist. This technique is often referred to as “twilight sedation” because you will be in a dream-like state. Essentially, you are awake but not aware, and unlikely to recall anything that’s happened during the procedure. Recovery can be slow or fast, and you will be monitored by an sedationist until it is safe for you to go home. Under IV sedation, patients often feel that the procedure took a couple of minutes when in reality it may have taken a couple of hours. It is necessary to arrange a friend or family member to drive you home from your appointment.

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