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Understanding the Four Levels of Sedation Dentistry

Understanding the Four Levels of Sedation Dentistry

Dental anxiety can make even minor dental work feel overwhelming or even terrifying. Sedation dentistry makes it possible to get the dental work you need in a comfortable and relaxing setting. There are four levels of sedation dentistry, ranging from light sedation to full anesthesia.

If you’re worried about getting dental work or experience anxiety, we can help. Our dentist Dr. Ramin Mahallati and our dentistry team at the Center for Implant & Esthetic Dentistry offer sedation dentistry services at our office in Beverly Hills, California.

Four levels of sedation dentistry

The four levels of sedation dentistry include:

The type of sedation that you’ll need depends on several factors, including the procedure, your level of anxiety, and your health. Before your appointment, Dr. Mahallati and our team will discuss your options and recommend the best type of sedation for your needs.

Mild sedation with nitrous oxide

Most people are familiar with nitrous oxide — also known as “laughing gas.” The nitrous oxide gas is mixed with oxygen. You’ll remain awake and alert throughout the procedure but relaxed enough to feel comfortable and less anxious. The effects wear off fairly quickly, and it’s safe for use on both children and adults. 

Some of the most common dental procedures where nitrous oxide is used include:

Nitrous oxide is inhaled through a mask.

Moderate dental sedation

Moderate sedation is a little stronger than laughing gas and is administered orally in pill form. While you’ll still be awake and conscious during the procedure, moderate dental sedation has a stronger effect and offers deeper relaxation, so you may not entirely remember the details of the procedure.

Deep sedation 

Deep sedation is administered intravenously (IV), and while you remain awake throughout the procedure, it produces what’s known as “twilight sleep” or an amnesic state where you’re just on the edge of consciousness and less sensitive to pain.

IV sedation is commonly used for oral surgery procedures like wisdom teeth extractions, dental implants, and gum surgery.

General anesthesia

General anesthesia is the strongest form of sedation. Under general anesthesia, you are fully unconscious throughout the procedure.

Depending on your dental procedure and the type of sedation required, we generally recommend that you bring someone to the appointment with you to drive you home afterward while the effects of the sedation fully wear off.

Sedation dentistry is a safe and effective way to manage dental anxiety and to deal with issues like lower pain tolerance and tooth and gum sensitivity. If you’re taking any medication or have underlying health issues, let us know before your procedure, and Dr. Mahallati will recommend the best options for you.

For more information about the different types of sedation dentistry, contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mahallati at our office in Beverly Hills.

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