Dr. Tal Lewinger Dental NewsDr. Tal Lewinger is a general dentist and owner of Marketplace Dentistry in Vaughan, Ontario practising eco-responsible (and fun) family and cosmetic dentistry and

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What is Sedation Dentistry

Tal Lewinger - Friday, May 27, 2016


Sedation dentistry is actually the medication which is used to help the patients relax during a dental procedure. It is otherwise called as ‘sleep dentistry’ even though it is not completely accurate. Except for the patients under general anesthesia, patients are usually awake. During dental procedures, the dentists use pharmacological agents to relax and calm the patient. These pharmacological agents are a kind of drugs used as the sedative. Their main function is to relax the muscles and depresses the central nervous system especially in the areas which are concerned with conscious awareness.


Different degrees of depression in the central nervous system are present and each of them corresponding to a relaxation level ranging from minimal to deep sedation. Here, minimal sedation can reduce the anxiety in a person but can respond to physical or verbal stimulation. The patient will be more relaxed when moderate sedation is given and will respond to purposeful stimulation. The patient will not give any sign of consciousness on a deep sedation and will not respond to stimulation.


The enteral route and parenteral route are the two general routes which are used to obtain sedation by pharmacological methods. Absorption of the medication across the enteral membranes which lines up in the alimentary canal from the oral cavity goes through the digestive tract and ends up in the rectum. The enteral route also includes medications that are either inserted rectally, absorbed by the oral cavity or swallowed. Other than the absorption across enteric membranes, administration od the sedative drugs are involved in parenteral route. These methods include inhalation, intramuscular, intravenous and submucosal administration among the others.


The levels of sedation used include the following points.

  • -Minimal sedation - Condition where you are awake but relaxed.
  • -Moderate sedation -You are not fully unconscious and will slur your words while speaking. You will not remember most of the dental procedures.
  • -Deep sedation - You can still be awakened but partly unconscious.
  • -General anesthesia- Completely unconscious and will not remember anything that is done at the moment.





 The courses for sedation dentistry are available across North America in both private organizations and dental schools. Pediatric and general dentists can continue their education courses in sedation dentistry.


Different types:


  • -Oral sedation - This type of sedation ranging from minimal to moderate depends on the total dose been given. A pill named Halcion is taken for minimal sedation.
  • -Inhaled sedation - Breathing nitrous oxide will make you drowsy and gradually relaxes your body.
  • -IV moderate sedation - A sedative drug is injected through the vein into your body and will relax your body more quickly.
  • -Anesthesia - During the procedure, the medication given to you will make you completely unconscious.



 Sedation dentistry offers many benefits to both the dentists and patients due to which it became very popular. Sedation dentistry is the only option for some of the patients to get the dental care they need and to improve their dental health. They can offer:


  • -Increased comfort
  • -Patient relaxation
  • -Movement control
  • -Gag reflex control
  • -Patient cooperation
  • -Time-saving and
  • -No memory of the treatment.

So by noticing these benefits you must have been convinced about the importance of sedation dentistry.



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