Category Archives: Sedation Dentistry

Caring for a Sedation Patient

My fiance is having a dental procedure which requires sedation. She asked me to be her “person”. I know I have to drive her back and forth and look after her during the day. Is there anything I should be looking for in particular during the day?

Sam P. – Oklahoma


It’s great that you’re planning ahead. For the most part, you’ll just need to be there for her general care. When someone has sedation, they tend to get a little disoriented. They’re also unstable on their feet. It’s easy for them to get injured if there’s not someone to keep an eye on them as they get around. Occasionally, there is a patient who feels nauseated from the sedation, but that doesn’t happen very often.

A lot of what you have to do beyond that will depend on the procedure. If she’s getting a root canal, it’s not that huge of a procedure. A tooth extraction, however, you’ll want to be sure her gauze gets changed and that the bleeding stays under control. It wouldn’t hurt to call the office ahead of time for specific post-op information.

A nice touch would be for you to have a lovely, cozy spot for her ready for her to relax with her pillow and favorite blanket. You can rent her some movies or have a Netflix show ready for her to binge watch.

It sounds like she’s in good hands just because you’re planning ahead.

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Is Sedation an Option When You Have Osteoporosis?

I have osteoporosis. My teeth hurt all the time as a result and I dread dental appointments. Is it possible to have sedation dentistry in my condition?

Julia L. – Wisconsin


It sounds like sedation dentistry is a great option for you. It will enable to have your work done without the pain that comes with osteoporosis. Plus, it allows you to have more work done per appointment, saving you time and money.

One precaution. with your condition, you’re always at risk of breaking a bone. Sedation makes you tipsy. That means you’re at risk of a fall. Even for patients without osteoporosis, it’s required you have someone stay with you for that reason.

The office will likely make sure you have someone with you when they check you in. Be sure to list every medication you’re currently on so the dentist gives you the type of sedation best for your body considering what else you’re taking.

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Dental Care for a Recovering Addict?

I’m a recovering drug addict. I’m going to a clinic for it and they have me on a methadone schedule to help. I truly am trying to get my life back under control. That includes my teeth. Unfortunately, they’re in bad shape. I’m a little anxious about the work it would take. I went to a dentist and he confirmed my fears. I do, indeed, need quite a bit of work. Once the dentist found out I was on methadone, he said there’s no way he’d be able to prescribe me any pain medicine. I can’t imagine having all that work done without medicine to ease the pain. I offered to let him speak to my clinic and discuss my case if it would ease his mind. He still would have nothing to do with it. Is that going to be typical from every dentist?

Tony D. – Baltimore


It honestly depends on the dentist. Some of them are so terrified of being investigated by the DEA that they leave their compassion behind. The fear is even a whiff of a scandal, even if they’re found innocent, will hurt their business for years to come.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get the help you need and deserve. I’d call around, starting with sedation dentists. They tend to be more compassionate and often deal with patients who suffer from dental anxiety. You’ll likely get more pliable results from them.

I’d also like to say Bravo! for the steps you’ve taken to get your life under control. I know how challenging and frightening that can be. Not to mention the battle you face is with your own body, which often betrays you in cases of addiction. Tackling something like this tells me you have the gumption to find a dentist who’ll work with you. I know he or she is out there.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.