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What is Oral Sedation?

by Williams, Daily & Frazier on Sep 7, 2018 10:28:09 AM

When it comes to keeping your teeth clean and avoiding common oral health problems, like gingivitis and periodontal disease, visiting the dentist is one of the best things you can do. Unfortunately, when many people think about going to the dentist, even for a routine cleaning, they are filled with anxiety, dread, and fear. If this sounds like you, oral sedation can help you relax while you get your teeth cleaned or have a dental procedure performed.

Reasons to Consider Oral Sedation

Oral sedation is used for many dental procedures, and can even be used to alleviate fear and anxiety while undergoing teeth cleanings. It is safe for children, adults, and special needs patients.


Many adults fear going to the dentist for a variety of reasons. They may have had a bad dental experience in the past. They may have sensitive teeth or a low tolerance for pain. They may be afraid of the dental tools, or they may fear needing many different dental procedures. Oral sedation can help adults feel more relaxed and at ease during the dental appointment.


Oral sedation for children is beneficial when the child has an extreme fear of the dentist, is unable to sit still for long periods of time and/or has extremely sensitive teeth or gums. Light to moderate oral sedation for children can reduce their fear and pain and help them better tolerate sitting in a dentist’s chair.

Special Needs

Special needs children and adults need dental care in order to help maintain their oral health and keep their teeth and gums clean. However, some special needs patients may have a difficult time understanding why they are at the dentist, and they may not be able to sit in a dentist’s chair for an extended period of time. Oral sedation can help relax special needs children and adults so that all of the needed dental procedures can be thoroughly completed without causing the individual undue stress or anxiety.

Oral Sedation for Dental Procedures

Oral sedation for dental procedures, including teeth cleanings, can help you relax while visiting the dentist in order to maintain your oral health. When it comes to oral sedation, there are three basic levels, including minimal sedation, conscious sedation also referring to as moderate sedation and deep sedation.

Minimal Oral Sedation

Minimal oral sedation can either be administered via inhalation of nitrous oxide or an oral tablet, usually from the benzodiazepine family of medications that includes Valium, Xanax and Halcion. These medications will help you feel relaxed and a little bit drowsy, but you will still be mostly awake.

Moderate Oral Sedation

Moderate oral sedation can be given via IV or with a slightly strong dose of oral medications. With this level of sedation, you will still be awake. However, it is unlikely that you will remember the specifics of your dental procedures.

Deep Oral Sedation

Deep oral sedation causes near or total unconsciousness, depending on the level of medications given. If you are deeply sedated, you will not remember the dental procedures.

Common Questions About Oral Sedation

Our dentists can answer all of your in-depth questions about oral sedation. Here are a few of the most common questions our patients have regarding sedation.

Is oral sedation at the dentist safe?

Oral sedation is considered very safe. Our dentists only prescribe medications that are FDA approved for oral sedation and doses are given according to the manufacturer’s guidelines for children and adults in order to achieve the required level of sedation. Dr. Daily and Dr. Frazier and both of their dental assistants are credentialed to bring patients to the new dental surgical center in Raleigh for patients who wish to be sedated there as well.

What procedures can be performed under oral sedation?

All types of dental procedures can be performed while the child, adult or special needs patient is sedated. Sedation dentistry procedures include teeth cleanings, fillings, tooth extractions, including wisdom teeth extractions, and tooth restoration procedures, like bridges and implants.

Will I be continuously monitored while under the effects of the sedation medications?

Our team of dental professionals will monitor your vitals while you are under the effects of the sedation medications, and one of your dental professionals will be in the room with you for the entire time you are under the influence of the sedation medications. We take safety extremely seriously.

To learn more about oral sedation dentistry or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.

Williams, Daily & Frazier Dental is a family and cosmetic dentist in Raleigh, NC with a dedicated team of dentists, assistants, hygienists and administrators who are enthusiastic in their commitment to their patients. We offer dental implants, Invisalign teeth straightening, in-office and home teeth whitening options, and Oral-B electric toothbrushes.
Contact Williams, Daily & Frazier at (919) 846-9070 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.