Sedation Dentistry – Wellesley, MA

No More Dental Fear and Anxiety

Imagine undergoing a complex dental treatment like a root canal, extraction, or oral surgery. When your treatment is complete, you have no recollection of the time it took, the pain, the noise, or the discomfort you were expecting. We are pleased to offer our patients the option of comfortable, safe, and effective sedation dentistry in our Wellesley, MA dental office. Patients who benefit from sedation dentistry have:

  • A fear or anxiety of being at the dentist
  • A hard time sitting still for long periods of time
  • A hard time getting (and staying) numb from anesthetics

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry allows your doctor to provide a variety of dental treatments safely and comfortably for patients who experience anxiety when visiting the dentist. There are several benefits of sedation dentistry, including:

  • No memory of undergoing the procedure
  • No sense of time while under sedation
  • No sense of smell or sound
  • No fear or anxiety during treatment

Patients who have undergone a procedure using sedation dentistry will tell you it's a simple, relaxing way to experience dentistry.

I'm nervous about being unconscious. What levels of sedation Dentistry are available to me?

There's no need to be nervous about having sedation dentistry at our dental office. We are licensed by the American Dental Association, and you'll find that we are both respectful and professional at all times.

Sedation dentistry is closely regulated by law, and there are three sedative states at which your dentist can administer your treatment: mild sedation, moderate sedation, and deep sedation.

  • Mild Sedation - Anxiolysis is the lightest form of sedation dentistry and is often used for patients with mild anxiety, longer procedures or more complex situations. Mild sedation is usually administered orally; you remain awake or very sleepy throughout the entire procedure and are able to breathe on your own, but you will feel a great sense of relaxation. Patients typically recover from anxiolysis sedation within a few hours after the procedure is complete. Nitrous oxide inhalation (laughing gas) is another form of mild to moderate sedation where you are very relaxed during treatment.
  • Moderate Sedation - Used for patients with moderate dental anxiety and for patients who need longer or more complex procedures, conscious sedation often refers to the use of light IV sedation. With conscious sedation, you will remain awake throughout your procedure, but will be in a deep state of relaxation. It is recommended that patients receiving conscious sedation have a parent, spouse, or friend accompany them to appointments because it can take several hours for the sedative to wear off and driving may be unsafe.
  • Deep Sedation - Patients receiving deep sedation go between consciousness and unconsciousness during their dental procedure. Patients often have no recollection of the treatment and are unable to respond to commands even if they are awake at times during the procedure. It is recommended that patients receiving deep sedation have a parent, spouse, or friend accompany them to appointments because it can take several hours for the sedative to wear off and driving may be unsafe.

How are sedatives administered?

  • Inhalation – Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is the most frequently used method for easing mild to moderate anxiety. Recovery is quick so you can resume your normal activities immediately.
  • Oral – An extremely common technique for dental sedation is oral sedation. It's easy and doesn't require the use of needles. You will be given a prescription pill, taken about an hour before your appointment, so that you are fully relaxed by the time you arrive at our dental office.
  • Intramuscular (IM) - Intramuscular sedation, which involves an injection of sedative drugs into the muscles of the upper arm or upper thigh, can result in sedation within a short amount of time.
  • Intravenous (IV) - In IV sedation, a sedative is administered intravenously, or directly into a vein. The sedation can be quickly modified to your state of consciousness and can be continued as long as necessary for the procedure.

What does it mean to be an IV Certified and Licensed Practitioner?

A dentist who is IV certified and licensed to administer IV sedation has received additional specialty training and has been legally certified by their state's Board of Dental Examiners to deliver medical drugs that alter a patient's consciousness for a comfortable, pain-free treatment.

Please contact our dental office to schedule a consultation, learn more about sedation dentistry, and find out which sedation dentistry method is right for you.

Sedation Dentistry FAQs

Four hands holding colorful “FAQs” sign

The team at Wellesley Dental Group is ready to help you have a relaxing dental care experience via our sedation methods. Before you schedule your appointment, however, you may want to know more about dental sedation and what to expect with it. To assist you, we have compiled the following list of FAQs, along with succinct answers. If you do not see your specific questions addressed, please reach out to us directly .

Is Sedation Dentistry Safe? 

Generally speaking, sedation is quite safe. Nitrous oxide is usually extremely well-tolerated; it is suitable for even very young patients. More powerful forms of sedation come with a slightly higher level of risk. However, severe adverse reactions are rare.

Before approving you for sedation, our dental team will carefully assess all relevant risk factors, such as your pre-existing medical conditions and any medications you are taking. During your dental procedure, we will carefully monitor you so we can take fast action on the off-chance that the sedative medication poses a danger to you.

Will I Remember Anything with Dental Sedation?

Whether or not you remember anything after being sedated depends on the type of sedation used. With nitrous oxide, most people do remember their procedure. However, because they were so relaxed, they may have only neutral memories of their time in the treatment chair.

More powerful forms of sedation have a higher likelihood of causing memory loss. For example, with oral conscious sedation, it is quite common for patients to forget their procedure. Something similar tends to happen with intravenous sedation. Many patients like the amnesiac effects of sedation because the sights and sounds of dental treatment tend to make them uncomfortable.

What Does It Feel Like to Be Sedated at the Dentist? 

The way sedation feels depends on the type of sedation you receive. Nitrous oxide produces a relaxed and somewhat giddy sensation. It might also produce a tingling feeling in the arms and legs. Some people even get the giggles.

Oral conscious sedation, intramuscular sedation, and intravenous sedation may make you feel very tired and relaxed. They do not cause unconsciousness, but they might cause you to drift off to sleep. Many patients report feeling “heavy” while under the influence of sedation. It is also common to feel like time is passing more quickly than usual.

How Much Does Sedation Dentistry Cost?

The cost of sedation dentistry depends on a few factors. Nitrous oxide is usually the most affordable option. It may cost a few hundred dollars; its price typically depends on the length of time it will be used. Oral conscious sedation is also on the affordable side because the method for administering it is so simple. Other forms of sedation, such as intravenously administered medications, may cost more due to their complex nature and the careful monitoring that is required.

During your consultation, our team can provide a detailed cost estimate and help you explore your payment options.