9 Reasons You Might Not Be a Good Candidate for Dental Sedation

9 Reasons You Might Not Be a Good Candidate for Dental Sedation

The vast majority of dental patients can use some form of sedation during a dental procedure to help reduce fears, calm anxieties or get through a long procedure with less stress. To make sure you’re a good candidate for any form of dental sedation, it’s important to share your full medical history with your trusted dentist. This helps them make a qualified medical decision that’s safest for your overall health.

So how do you know you may not be a good candidate for dental sedation? Here are nine reasons.

You Have No Fears or Anxieties

You Have No Fears or AnxietiesDental sedation, whether laughing gas, oral, or IV, is meant to help you relax and feel more at ease with your dental procedure. You don’t have to be diagnosed for anxiety or have a dental phobia to need some form of dental sedation. Sometimes light sedation is made available to help you be more comfortable during a long procedure. But if you’re not afraid, anxious, or tense, you likely don’t need it.

Your Age

While dental sedation can be used on children, it must be done very carefully to avoid tragedy. It should only be done when there’s a true need for it. Some patients of extremely advanced age may not be able to handle certain forms of dental sedation either, usually due to underlying medical issues.

You’re Pregnant

You’re PregnantDental sedation is not recommended for pregnant women at nearly every stage. Laughing gas isn’t used in the first trimester while oral and IV sedation aren’t recommended at any point. If you think you could be pregnant, even if you’re not sure yet, make sure to tell your dentist.

You’re Allergic to the Medication

In oral and IV sedation, benzodiazepines are the most common medication, although others are available instead. Patients with allergies to the typical medication may be able to use an alternative but they may not, depending on other underlying conditions. Share any allergies you have with your dentist.

You Have a Stuffy Nose

You Have a Stuffy NoseIf all you need is a bit of laughing gas, having a stuffy nose could be a problem. Nitrous oxide is breathed in through the nose as your dentist works on your mouth. Being unable to inhale properly means the gas can’t get into your system in the same way and won’t have the same effect.

You’ve Got Chronic Bronchitis or Respiratory Disease

If you suffer from chronic bronchitis or respiratory disease, oral sedation is not recommended for you. The medication typically prescribed slows breathing, in an effort to relax you. This is good if your lungs are completely healthy, but when they’re compromised, this can cause complications.

You’re Taking Other Medications

You’re Taking Other MedicationsNot every medication can’t be mixed with sedation, but some can’t. It’s extremely important that you tell your dentist about every medication you take. This includes prescribed medication, over-the-counter medication, vitamins, or herbal remedies. If you don’t, your dentist may prescribe oral sedation that won’t work or could have negative side effects when mixed with your current medication.

You Have Sleep Apnea

Although IV sedation is quite rare, and only used in extreme circumstances, it’s not recommended for patients with sleep apnea. Even if you haven’t been officially diagnosed with sleep apnea, this is still a concern. If you’re overweight and you snore, you need to let your dentist know as this can be an indication of sleep apnea.

You Drank Alcohol Before the Appointment

You Drank Alcohol Before the AppointmentIf you’re going in for a procedure involving sedation, do not consume alcohol. Oral and IV sedation medication do not mix well with it, and it could cause complications like lowering your blood pressure too much or making it difficult for you to breathe. If you’re nervous about your procedure, talk to your dentist instead of having a glass of wine at lunch. Even without sedation, if your dentist suspects you’ve been drinking, they may not be willing to do the procedure.


When planning your next procedure with your dentist, ask about sedation if you’re scared or if it’s invasive. Your dentist wants you to be comfortable so you can handle the procedure. But make sure you share your complete medical history and current medications with your dentist, too.

Even if you’re not a good candidate for one type of sedation, another form may be right for you. But without the right information, your dentist can’t make a fully informed decision about your care. Don’t put your health and safety at risk — talk to your dentist.