If you feel very anxious about undergoing dental treatment, you may be able to opt for sedation during your treatment. Sedation may also be recommended by your dentist if you have a sensitive gag reflex or are experiencing significant pain. The goal of sedation is to help you feel relaxed and allow your dentist to carry out treatment safely, which may be difficult if you're very nervous and struggling to remain calm. Sedation allows you to remain conscious, but you will typically require someone to escort you home after your treatment, and you may not be able to recall the details of your appointment. Read on to learn about the types of sedation your dentist can offer.


Oral sedation is usually the type your dentist will recommend if you feel anxious about dental treatment, as you can take this type at home and the medication will take effect before your appointment begins. Your dentist will provide the oral sedative and give you instructions for taking it to ensure you get the most benefit from it. If you opt for an oral sedative, ensure you arrange for someone to accompany you to your dental appointment and refrain from driving after taking this medication.


Inhalation sedation involves the administration of measured doses of nitrous oxide. Your dentist will administer this type of sedation right before your treatment starts, as it takes effect immediately. Inhalation sedation can cause you to experience tingling in your toes and fingers, but this should pass quickly after your appointment. The effects of inhalation sedation wear off quickly, so it can be a good option for those who have commitments later in the day. Inhalation sedation can be the best choice for those who don't want to take on the responsibility of self-administering this type of medication. It's also often used for children due to how quickly it wears off and how easy it is to control the amount of nitrous oxide that is given across the treatment period. 


Intravenous sedation involves your dentist injecting a sedative solution into your vein, and this type of sedation tends to be deeper and more pronounced than oral or inhalation sedation. As a result, you can feel drowsy for longer after receiving an intravenous sedative than you would with other types. This type of sedation works well for those with a strong gag reflex due to its ability to instantly relax the muscles in your mouth. After intravenous sedation you may feel nauseous or tired, so it's wise to rest for the remainder of the day.

If you think sedation would benefit you when undergoing dental treatments, discuss the three options with a dentist before scheduling your treatment.