Category Archives: Sedation Dentistry

Will Sedation Dentist Let Me Stay Until Meds Wear Off?

I’m planning to schedule an appointment with a sedation dentist to have some work done. I know I need at least three crowns and probably have four or five fillings as well. From what I understand of it, the dentist can do all the work at once this way, but the medications will make me very groggy and unable to drive right after. How long will the medicine stay in my system? Will the sedation dentist allow me to stay in the office and sleep until they wear off? Normally my wife can help with stuff like this but she’s away helping our daughter who just had her first baby.

Don – Little Rock, AR

Dear Don,

Congratulations on becoming a grandpa! There’s no telling what your sedation dentist will prescribe unless you talk directly to him. There is a number of possible medications he might use and each one has a different lifespan and affects the body differently. Most people feel groggy for the rest of the day after being medicated, so driving is not allowed on the same day as treatment.

When you choose a sedation dentist, your first appointment will be a consultation to go over the diagnosis and treatment options. No treatment will be performed that day. As part of the consultation, they’ll go over what medications they use and how they’ll affect you. As a general rule, sedation dentists require you to have an adult bring you to the office, take you home, and stay with you for the rest of the day on the day of treatment. There’s a good chance you’ll probably sleep some in the office anyway, but you won’t be able to sleep off the medications and drive later. In fact, most offices suggest that you plan to spend the rest of the day at home; preferably in bed or on the sofa, so you don’t have a fall.

As far as having all the work done at once goes, you may or may not be able to. One of the main benefits is that doctors can accomplish more because you’re relaxed, but if the work is extensive or is in different areas of the mouth, you may still need to come back for multiple appointments.

However, depending on the doctor and the treatments that are necessary, you may also feel comfortable going without medication for some of the quicker visits, such as fillings. If not, then each visit would require you to have a driver and helper for the rest of the day. Your office will go over all your necessary treatment with you and will work with you to develop a plan that’s manageable, so be sure to express any concerns you have about timing and the number of visits during your consultation.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Brad Hylan.

A Gorgeous Smile Super Fast

I just inherited money. A substantial amount of money. What I’m most excited about is that I can finally get my teeth fixed. I’ve spent so many years ashamed of my smile. Well, not anymore. Yippee. I’m likely going to need some crowns and cavities filled first because I haven’t been to the dentist in years (because of finances). Other than that, I have chipped and stained teeth, a tooth gap, gums that hang down. How much can I do at each appointment? I want it all done as quickly as possible. I’m racing toward my beautiful smile.

Sherisse L. – Denton, TX


Congratulations on your windfall. I’m thrilled along with you that you’re finally going to get the smile you’ve always wanted. As I believe you already realize, you’ll have to get the health of your teeth and gums squared away before the smile makeover. You need healthy gums for any cosmetic procedure. Plus, you don’t want to loose any teeth. That won’t do your smile any favors.

Each dentist is different as to how much work they’ll do at once. You’ll find the dentists willing to do the most work in a sitting are sedation dentists. That’s easier on the patients too. You can practically sleep through all the work.

After you’ve dealt with any cavities, etc., it’s time for you to get what you really want…your gorgeous smile.

The ideal procedure is porcelain veneers. These can make teeth stunning. They can change the shape, size, and color of your teeth all at once. Make sure you go to an expert cosmetic dentist. IF you do, the results will be so much better. A cosmetic dentist will know this, but I just wanted to give you a heads up. Any gum contouring will need to be done before the veneers of done. Otherwise, the results won’t look right.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Brad Hylan.

Can Dental Sedation Kill You?

I’m scheduled to see the sedation dentist in three weeks to have my wisdom teeth pulled. I’m normally an anxious patient anyway and I really don’t feel comfortable having the work done unless I take the medication. I just saw on the news that a little girl died while at the sedation dentist, and so I started looking around and found another case happened earlier this year too. Now I’m worried something really bad is going to happen to me when I go in. How dangerous is it to see a sedation dentist? I may just try to tough it out without the medications…


Dear Paulette,

Issues with sedation are very rare. The biggest risks come in when you go under for complete anesthesia, and even then, the chances of having a problem are still very small. What a sedation dentist uses is different.

Most dentists use either nitrous oxide (commonly called laughing gas) or oral conscious sedation. It’s a pill you take that doesn’t know you out, but just relaxes you. This is a huge difference because they aren’t known for slowing down your body or respiration as much. They mostly make you groggy instead. In some cases, the medications are basic anti-anxiety medications, just in high doses.

Your sedation dentist will review your medical history, check your current medications, and compare everything in advance, just to make sure you get the right doses of the right medications before the procedure.

For your peace of mind, you should talk to the doctor in advance. Ask questions about how they’ll monitor you. Will they make sure you’re getting enough oxygen? Will they monitor your heart rate? Will a trained associate stay with you and monitor you the whole time you’re there? Do they have an emergency protocol to follow if there is some kind of emergency or if you have a reaction to the medication? If they have these measures in place, and they should, then you can rest assured you’re in good hands.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Brad Hylan.

Worried I’ll Make a Pass at My Dentist Under Sedation

I’m scheduled to have some dental work using sedation done next week. My friend says that sedation makes you flirty. She keeps joking that I’m going to make a pass at my dentist. She’s saying this because I’ve always found him attractive. While I know she’s just teasing me, now she’s got me worried. Does sedation make you act like you’re drunk?

Sandy L. – Virgina


Your friend is messing with you just a tad. But, that’s what friends do. Sedation dentistry completely relaxes you. In the case of oral conscious sedation, it may make you sleepy. You are unlikely to do anything you wouldn’t normally do. You’ll have complete control of your faculties.

It does give you a euphoric state of mind. How you respond to that has more to do with your personality. If having a glass of wine makes you lovey-dovey, then you’ll be lovey-dovey. But, if you don’t want to make a pass at your dentist, you’re not going to.

….Or maybe you’ll leave the office with a healthy mouth and a date for next Friday night.

Just kidding.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Brad Hylan.

How Much Work Can I Have Done In One Sitting?

I wondered how much work I can have done in one sitting. I need three root canals, two cavities filled, and I’d like to get my teeth whitened.

Alex – Washington


Each dentist varies as to how much work they’ll do in one appointment. Each patient varies as to how much they can handle in one sitting. If you want more than the normal work done, then I’d suggest sedation dentistry. You relax. The dentist works. When you wake up, voila! The work is done.

The only thing you certainly can’t have at the same time as the rest of your work is the teeth whitening. Those have to be done on completely healthy teeth. So, get your teeth repaired first, then you can have them whitened.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Brad Hylan.

My Dental Anxiety Cost Me A Tooth. How Can I Fix This?

I’ve had dental anxiety for some time. I thought it’d be OK, but now I’ve realized how much this has cost me.  A simple cavity turned into a root canal, and now a lost tooth. I have to do something about this. Any suggestions for patients who aren’t fond of the dental chair?

Belinda G. – Mississippi


I’m glad you’re writing. We can end this anxiety problem for you right now.  First, let me assure you that you’re not the only patient with dental anxiety. Quite a few people struggle. Often it can be traced back to a traumatic childhood visit with the dentist.

I would suggest you try sedation dentistry. It will completely relax you. In fact, you don’t even have to worry about a shot, because it is administered by pill.

Though you’re still conscious, you won’t feel any pain. In fact, many patients sleep right through the appointment. You’ll need someone to drive you too and from the appointment. You’ll be too woozy to drive.

I promise this will change your view of dentistry. You may find you’re able to get caught up on all your needed dental work in a very short period of time.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Brad Hylan.

Why Can’t the Dentist Get Me Numb?

I need a root canal treatment. The dentist tried nine different times to get me numb and it wouldn’t work. I ended up leaving without getting the procedure done. I already struggled with dental anxiety. This has just put me over the edge. I don’t think I can go back. Do you know what went wrong?

Ben H. – Chicago


You’ve had a horrible experience, but I don’t want you to just leave the tooth as it is. That puts your life at risk. Infections spread, and an oral infection is very close to your brain and heart.

I do have a solution for you, and know exactly what is going on. You mentioned dental anxiety. What many dentists don’t realize is how much that anxiety affects your metabolism. If you’re afraid, your body jumps into action. That fear will burn up the numbing agent. That’s why your dentist wasn’t able to get you numb.

When there’s a patient who is afraid of dental work, it helps for them to see a sedation dentist. If they just have mild anxiety, then having some nitrous oxide to relax them will do the trick.

If they have a more severe anxiety, which I suspect is the situation you find yourself in, they may need to use oral conscious sedation. This is simply a pill you’ll take before your appointment. But, you’ll be woozy enough to where you’ll need someone to drive you to and from the dentists office.

You won’t necessarily be out, though some patients enjoy sleeping through the entire appointment. Either way, you won’t feel a thing. You’ll have a completely pain free procedure.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Brad Hylan.

Can I Take Sleeping Pills Instead of Seeing Sedation Dentist?

I like the idea of seeing a sedation dentist. I have dental anxiety and I don’t want to really be aware of what’s happening. I just want to go in and have it done. The problem is, my regular doctor isn’t a sedation dentist. He won’t do it at all. Is it safe for me to just take my regular prescribed sleeping pills before I go in and let those work their magic?


Kelly in South Dakota

Dear Kelly,

A sedation dentist does more than just administer medication. Doctors that specialize in this kind of treatment have extra training. They’re well-versed in potential interactions and know what to do in the event of a dental emergency. They also have a keen understanding of how the medications they prescribe work, so they know what normal behavior on the medications is. On top of this, you are monitored the entire time you’re in the office of a sedation dentist. They’ll check your vitals and have someone with you the whole time, to make sure that you stay safe.

It is possible that your regular office will be ok with you taking some type of medication during your treatment, but you should have a discussion with your doctor about it well in advance. He’s going to need to make sure that you won’t have any interactions with other medications he gives you. The other concern is that the medicines you’ll normally receive in a dental office aren’t intended to put you to sleep. They make people so comfortable that they do sometimes doze off, but that’s not what they’re intended for. So, if you take a medication that totally puts you out and you can’t follow instructions or corporate with your treatment, there could be issues. On top of this, your doctor and his staff may not be getting regular emergency training because this is not part of their normal services.

The bottom line is that you may be allowed to take something prior to your visit, but a sleeping pill will probably get nixed. You need to ask this question of your dentist. Only he knows what he and his staff are capable of handling. However, your best bet is to seek out a sedation dentist to do the work, to ensure that you are as relaxed as possible during treatment and that your safety is looked out for properly.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Seeing Sedation Dentist for Extractions- Will I choke on Gauze?

I’m scheduled to see the sedation dentist to have my wisdom teeth extracted in three weeks. I just had my initial consultation and x-rays and they went over most of the instructions with me.  They also sent a sheet home with me that had post-op instructions and it talked about using gauze after the extractions are done. I’m a little worried, since this is a sedation dentist and all… is there a possibility that I could fall asleep and choke on the gauze or, worse yet, choke on it just because I’m not mentally with it after? Is the gauze absolutely necessary or are there alternatives?


Julia in Nebraska

Dear Julia,

The gauze is only needed while you’re actively bleeding. The pressure helps stop it and will help protect the blood clot as it forms. The clot is important because it protects the socket. Without it, your bone is exposed and that can be a very uncomfortable experience. So, you really want to do everything you can to protect the area and promote healing right after the tooth extractions. Gauze is a great choice because it’s gentle, absorbent, and can be changed out easily. The gauze you’ll receive from the sedation dentist will also be sterilized, so you don’t introduce bacteria into the socket.  In other words, the gauze is a huge benefit that you don’t want to overlook.

You will be groggy after you leave the sedation dentist and you’ll probably want to sleep off the meds. Even still, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have an issue with the gauze. You should have a responsible adult with you after surgery and that person should stay with you until the meds are out of your system. You can talk to that person in advance about your concerns and make sure that they understand the importance of their job. They really do need to look out for you and also make sure you’re not up and walking around while you’re still disoriented. They can help keep an eye on how you’re doing with your gauze, too. You shouldn’t lay down with it in and you’ll need to change it out about every 45 minutes until it’s only light pink when you’re supposed to be ready for a change. At that point, you can take it out without worry. This could happen as little as one hour after surgery, or about the time you’re getting home, or it could be about five hours later.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Is there any way to get past my dental fear without sedation dentistry?

I have always had a really nice smile and was proud of the way I looked. Now, times have changed. I’ve had some difficult health problems and treatments that have really messed up my teeth. Someone said I should see a sedation dentist to get the work I need. But that thought totally freaks me out because I get anxious at what could happen while I’m out. I am so scared to even schedule an appointment because I’m dreading hearing how bad my teeth are now. I feel like my anxiety is getting out of control and now it’s the thing that’s keeping me away. Is there any way I can move past this without using sedation dentistry?

-Tina in Utah


Even thought it sounds like the thought of any kind of dental appointment scares you, sedation dentistry really may be the best fit. You may not agree right now, but once you learn more about what it is and what it’s not, you may change your mind. Sedation dentistry is completely safe. A sedation dentist must pursue extensive training to be certified. Most dentists that offer sedation are specifically interested in helping and working the fearful patients. They will go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and relaxed. Music, movies, going slow, and being gentle are all things you can expect from a dentist that wants to help fearful patients. In some cases, a simple distraction is all that it takes.

Other patients are completely freaked out. These patients benefit most from oral sedation. There is a misconception that you will be knocked out with conscious sedation. So, let’s clarify what the appointment will look like. A sedation dentistry appointment simply involves taking a prescribed medication prior to the procedure. You will still be conscious, but will be indifferent to what is going on around you. The good news for most fearful patients is you probably won’t remember a thing. Yet your protective reflexes like breathing and coughing are still fully functional. You will need someone to drive you to and from the appointment, so you won’t be alone. Also, there will be a trained professional that accompanies the dentist the entire time. So you will never be alone while under the medication. When, the treatment is done, you will feel like no time has passed. Most say it feels like they slept.

Maybe it’s time you at least had a consultation to learn more about what your appointment and treatment plan will look like. Thank you for your question. Hopefully this will encourage you to explore your options and get the dental care you need.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.