Ditch These 6 Myths About Sedation Dentistry

Ditch These 6 Myths About Sedation Dentistry

When you’re scared of something, like going to the dentist, one of two things can happen. On one hand, you may avoid it completely, not even going for the most basic procedure because you don’t think you can handle it. On the other, you beg for the doctor to knock you out because you think it’s a miracle cure, and you won’t have to worry again.

In reality, dental fear and having work done on your teeth can both be aided by sedation dentistry, but only if you can separate fact from myth. Don’t avoid the dentist because you think there’s no help for your phobia, but don’t expect one type of sedation to be a perfect solution, either.

There’s Only One Kind of Sedation

There’s Only One Kind of SedationMany patients believe there’s only one option for sedation dentistry – being “knocked out.” In reality, there are multiple methods for sedation during your dental procedure:

  1. Nitrous oxide
  2. Oral sedation
  3. IV sedation

Nitrous oxide is routinely given during even basic procedures to help you relax. Oral sedation involves taking medication the night before and day of your dental procedure.. IV sedation is less common, but can be used when a patient’s fear or procedure warrants it.

Sedation Puts You to Sleep

Because sedation dentistry is so often called “sleep” or “twilight” dentistry, many people think they’ll go to sleep when they’re sedated. In reality, you will be awake even with sedation. You may not be completely aware of your surroundings or remember everything later, but you are not asleep. Each type of sedation affects people differently but none of the acceptable types make you go to sleep or knock you unconscious.

Sedation is Only for People Afraid of the Dentist

Sedation is Only for People Afraid of the DentistSome people are more than scared of going to the dentist. They’re terrified. They don’t like the procedure. They hate anyone messing with their teeth. Needles and drills make them break out into a sweat. These fears can get in the way of taking care of your dental health. Phobias, however, aren’t the only reason to use sedation. Sedation is also good for long, uncomfortable procedures, patients with strong gag reflexes, and anyone who feels overly anxious or worried about the procedure.

Sedation is Unsafe

If you’re not a good candidate for sedation, it could be unsafe. This is why any dentist offering sedation as an option should understand your medical history first. Some sedation options, like nitrous oxide, are safe for the vast majority of patients. Others, like IV sedation, may not be good if you’ve got certain medical conditions or you’re pregnant. But overall, some form of sedation is a safe option for the majority of dental patients.

Sedation Will Cure Your Dental Fear and Phobias

Sedation Will Cure Your Dental Fear and PhobiasGetting over a fear requires a lot of hard work and help from trained professionals, including having a good experience with your dentist. Sedation can, in some instances, help you feel less anxious about an upcoming experience. You may also have a more pleasant experience and memory of your procedure. This can help you feel more positive about visiting the dentist in the future. Sedation is a helpful aid and good tool, but it will not cure your phobia.

Anyone Can Get Sedation

It is possible for one myth to say that sedation is unsafe, and another to say anyone can get it. Of course, they can’t both be true – and in this case, both are false. While sedation is a safe option for the vast majority of patients, there are circumstances when it is not a good option.

  • Patients who are pregnant
  • Patients with other medical conditions
  • Patients with a high tolerance for the medication so that it is ineffective in the right dosage
  • The length of the procedure being performed
  • The type of procedure being performed

Because there are multiple types of sedation, it’s possible that while one method may not be right for you, another will.


Sedation can be extremely useful for patients with long, complex, or painful dental procedures. It’s also an excellent option if you’re scared of the dentist, the needles, or the procedure itself. The myths out there about sedation dentistry are confusing and may make people think it’s not the right choice for them. Whether sedation is new to you or you simply want to have a better understanding, talk to your dentist to find out if you’re a good candidate for sedation. We can tell you what kind of sedation works best based on your anxiety, fears, and procedure.