15 Facts About Dental Sedation

When you’re afraid to go to the dentist, you might think you don’t have any options but to avoid it all together or go even though your knees are knocking. The truth is that dental sedation helps a lot of people get the care they need and keep their teeth, gums, and mouth healthy.

If you avoid getting regular check-ups and dealing with potential problems like pain, bleeding gums, or cracked teeth, you set yourself up for poor health all around. What’s happening in your mouth can be a sign of other health problems. Don’t live in fear of the dentist, and take advantage of dental sedation options available.

Don’t know much about dental sedation? Here are 15 fun facts to get you started.

dental procedure with dental sedation

  1. Nitrous oxide was discovered in the 1770s and was originally used for parlor games and public entertainment because it made users silly and giggly which is why it’s called laughing gas.
  2. Laughing gas was first tested in dentistry in the 1800s, but it didn’t become widely available until the 1960s.
  3. Nitrous oxide works on most people and is one of the safest, least invasive methods of dental sedation.
  4. Laughing gas comes in multiple “flavors” like grape, orange, or cherry, and that’s not just for kids. Adults get flavors, too. It makes it easy to tell when the medicine is being administered and when it’s not.
  5. Masks are used to administer nitrous oxide and come in kid-sized and adult-sized. That’s right, kids can use laughing gas to relax for their dentist appointment, too.
  6. Oral sedation might sound a little intimidating, but it’s just a prescription medication that you take the night before and the morning of your dental procedure in pill form.
  7. Up to 10 percent of the total population has a dental phobia — an extreme fear of the dentist or something to do with dentistry.
  8. Up to 75 percent of the total population has some kind of dental fear or anxiety which just proves that you’re not alone if you’re afraid or worried when you go to the dentist.
  9. Dental sedation is safe for the majority of patients, but it’s not right for everyone. This is why your dentist takes a full medical history and asks about your current medications.
  10. Dental sedation can be used for any dental procedure — big or small. If you’re nervous or fearful, talk to your dentist.
  11. Sedation is good for more than just your anxieties and fears. It’s also helpful for patients who have a hard time sitting still or controlling their body movements.
  12. Dental sedation is effective for patients who have long dental procedures. Depending on the sedation option you use, it can make the procedure seem to fly by.
  13. People have been trying to reduce pain and fear in dentistry for thousands of years. The first known use of some kind of pain relief dates back to 2250 BCE.
  14. IV sedation, a less common but effective form of dental sedation, was first administered to dental patients in the 1930s in the United Kingdom.
  15. Dental sedation options can help you learn to overcome your fear of the dentist over time. Even if you never completely stop being afraid, it will help you get the dental care you need. You deserve to have better oral health and a nicer smile.

woman laughing with nitrous oxide dental sedation


The more you know, the easier it is to make good decisions for your health and your dental care. Dental sedation doesn’t have to be a scary thing, just like going to the dentist doesn’t have to scare you. Sedation is designed to help you and it’s safe for the majority of patients. If you struggle with anxiety or fear or you have a long dental procedure coming up, talk to your dentist about your sedation options. You don’t have to suffer through dental appointments, and you don’t have to go it alone.

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