Sedation Dentistry: Is it Right for You?

A lot of people think that dental sedation is reserved for unique, case-by-case treatments. Not so! At Raleigh Dental Arts, we provide sedation dentistry options for practically all of our patients. That way you can request it at any time.

Taking advantage of safe sedation medications offers a variety of benefits. Depending on what it is you’re looking for, you can opt for varying levels and delivery methods of sedatives. For instance, some are taken by mouth and others are delivered intravenously.

Benefits of Sedation Dentistry


Why should anyone consider or request sedation during dental treatment? Here are just a few common scenarios that we encounter on a daily basis.

Fewer appointments (“once and done”) when you want to complete everything at once.

Since sedation medications ensure your ultimate comfort and can last for as long as needed, it’s possible to combine multiple steps of care into fewer appointments. So instead of booking 3-4 different visits to restore separate areas of your smile, you could potentially plan to have each step completed during the same sitting. Sedation and dental anesthesia make it straightforward and comfortable to perform multiple steps in fewer office visits without compromising the quality or comfort of your care. If you’re the type of person who just likes to start on a project and work on it all at once until it’s completed, then you may be someone who prefers to have your visit schedule in conjunction with sedation.


You need to get your oral health back on track.

Maybe you’ve been avoiding the dentist for years or even decades. You’ve finally decided to take control of your oral health and enjoy the beautiful smile that you deserve. Opting to add sedation to your planned treatment visits will help you to ease back into the dental experience without worrying about phobia or anxiety interfering with your care needs. By taking control of your oral health, you can treat problems while they’re smaller, less invasive, and more affordable to correct. And while you’re at it, you’ll set yourself up for better wellness so that it’s easier to maintain your dental health in the future.


Ensure the most relaxing experience from start to finish.


For ultimate relaxation — or just to put your mind at ease — you can choose the level of sedation you want to help you enjoy a positive visit. Some individuals want to “sleep” through the entire appointment, while others prefer not to remember anything about it afterward. Dental sedation medications work in varying ways. Feel free to communicate your goals and expectations so that we can guide you through the planning process and select the best type of sedation or anesthesia. Although sedation dentistry doesn’t make you fall asleep per se, it does help you to feel as relaxed as possible. Plus, the amnesic effect of certain medications can prevent you from having any recollection about the treatment whatsoever. Depending on the level of comfort you’re looking for, some types of analgesics or sedation drugs are “stronger” than others; choose the one that fits your priorities.


Who Should Request Sedation During Dental Care?

Practically anyone can request to add sedation onto their upcoming dental appointment. However, careful planning and medical screenings are required first. Be sure to make us aware of any medications that you’re taking or if you recently had any form of surgery, even if it is not dental related.

All of that being said, here are some of the most common reasons why our Raleigh dentists recommend dental sedation:

Dental Phobia or Anxiety — Are you afraid of the dentist? Dental anxiety (and complete phobia) are more common than you might think. But fear of the dentist can get in the way of the care you need, causing delayed treatments and increased care costs. Opting to schedule your appointment with sedation helps you overcome dental phobia to complete the care you desperately need. And when your mouth is healthy again, it will be easier to schedule routine exams and cleanings that keep your teeth and gums healthy for life. We’re here to ensure a positive experience no matter what you’ve been through in the past.


Complex Care Needs / Oral Surgery — If you’re planning some type of dental or oral surgery — such as tooth extraction, wisdom tooth removal, dental implant installation, or gum graft — you may prefer to just “tune the whole thing out.” Raleigh Dental Arts allows you to select the level of comfort for your appointment. If you prefer to stay awake and only have the area numbed with local anesthetic, that’s perfectly fine. But when you want something a bit stronger to ensure you relax from start to finish, particularly for oral surgery, we highly recommend dental sedation.


Multiple Treatments in One Visit — Traditional dental care prioritizes treatments related to severity, completing the more aggressive and important ones first. From there, the appointments are alternated depending on which side of your mouth is involved (preventing your entire mouth from having to be anesthetized at one time.) But when our Raleigh dentists are able to arrange for a sedation appointment, it’s possible to complete all or most of your procedures in one visit. By the time any local anesthetic begins to wear off, so will the drowsy effects of the sedative.


Medically Compromised Patients — Some types of special needs or underlying medical conditions can make it almost impossible to endure or sit through a routine dental procedure. Depending on the situation, opting for something like IV sedation may be the best path forward. We’ll want to complete a thorough medical screening and review of your health history before settling on a specific type of sedation medication. Some health conditions can safely allow for dental care here in our Raleigh office with sedation, while others may need to be completed in a nearby surgical center.

Sensitive Gag Reflex — Are you generally bothered by having anything in your mouth? For those of us with hypersensitive gag reflexes, it can feel next to impossible to have a dentist peer inside of your mouth, much less repair one of your teeth. Sedatives ease the tickling sensation at the back of your throat, making it safe to complete your required dental care. Plus, you’ll want to be sure to have an empty stomach leading up to the appointment, lessening the chance of any unwanted side effects associated with a gag reflex.



Types of Dental Sedation in Raleigh

Both types of sedation dentistry at Raleigh Dental Arts are medications that make you feel sleepy or completely tune out what’s going on around you. Since the drowsy effects are quite strong, you’ll need to have a trusted friend or family member drive you to and from the appointment.



Raleigh Oral Sedation Dentistry


Conscious oral sedation (better known as “oral sedation”) uses a prescription sedative medication that you take by mouth just before your appointment. After several minutes you will start to feel drowsy or sleepy. Some people even fall asleep during their appointment! Oral sedatives wear off after a few hours, giving you plenty of time to get back home before the sedation effect completely wears off. It’s fairly normal to experience an amnesic effect; you may not remember anything about the appointment whatsoever.

Raleigh oral sedation is an extremely convenient, safe, and practical way to access the quality of care your smile deserves.

IV Sedation

Delivered through a small intravenous line, this sedation medication works quickly and is extremely safe. It takes effect within a matter of seconds and can be carefully monitored for extremely precise dosage. IV sedation is helpful for dental procedures of all lengths, as it can be used for short treatments or longer types of appointments. Whether you need to have an implant placed, wisdom tooth extracted, or multiple teeth restored in one day, the medication delivery can be adjusted to the precise length of your scheduled care.



Do You Require Complex Care?


Complex scenarios involving full mouth reconstruction, multiple surgeries, or situations related to underlying health factors often require detailed planning. It may be best to work with an anesthesiologist to provide general anesthesia right here in our office or a surgical center. Our Raleigh dentists can determine if general anesthesia is appropriate and take the necessary steps to coordinate your care between our dentists and the anesthesia specialist. Individuals with significant medical issues or special needs may otherwise be unable to sit through a typical dental procedure. Our close partnership with a local anesthesiologist ensures a safe experience that puts our patients first.

Sedation Dentist in Raleigh

Raleigh Dental Arts provides attentive, gentle sedation dentistry in our office. Working with our highly experienced practitioners allows you to overcome your dental phobia, complete the care procedures that you know you need, and enjoy fewer trips to the dentist’s office. If you’re curious about whether sedation dentistry is right for you, we encourage you to request a consultation. Our providers will review your personal information, medical history, care needs, and then suggest the most appropriate type of dental sedation for your situation. Call us today to get started!

Tarun Agarwal

Dr. Tarun Agarwal, DDS is considered one of the top dentists in the country. He is a recognized speaker, author, and dental leader. He has been featured on CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, and News 14 Carolina. Dr. Agarwal has been awarded '40 under 40' Business Leaders by the Triangle Business Journal. He is regularly invited to teach other dentists around the world and recently built a training center within the practice dedicated to sharing his expertise. Most importantly he is a loving husband and dedicated father of three wonderful children. His biggest accolade was being voted 'Best Dad in the World' by 2 of his 3 kids.