5290 E Arapahoe Rd. Centennial, CO 80122

What is Sedation Dentistry?

What is Sedation DentistryOur dentist, Dr. Matthew Wimmer in Centennial, can answer the question, what is sedation dentistry and how can it make your dental experience more pleasant? We know that many of our patients feel anxiety or fear about going to the dentist. That’s why we do everything we can to make your feel comfortable. Let’s discuss your three options for sedation dentistry, including oral sedation, nitrous oxide, and IV sedation. We can explain what they are and how they work.

Basically, sedation dentistry, sometimes called sleep dentistry, uses medication in different forms to help you relax while you have a dental procedure or cleaning. However, patients are usually awake. According to a WebMD article, sedation dentistry can relieve your anxiety and allow you to complete needed dental procedures, anything from filling a cavity to teeth cleaning.

Sedation dentistry can also be a successful way to complete dental work for people who have a low threshold of pain, have trouble sitting in a dental chair, have a sensitive gag reflex, have sensitive teeth or need a lot of dental work done.

Oral Sedation

This option uses a prescription pill that you take at home before you come to our office.

The medication in a pill form causes drowsiness and amnesia and helps you feel relaxed. The most common medication is Halcion (triazolam). It is taken about an hour before the dental procedure. It gives a deep level of relaxation and amnesia effect. For children, the most common medication is Versed (Midazolam) which is a liquid. The medication makes you drowsy, although usually, you will still be awake.

With oral sedation, some people do sleep through their dental appointment but usually can be awakened easily. You will need to have someone else drive you to your appointment and drive you home. The effects of the oral sedation medication will wear off within one to two hours after your appointment.

Some of the advantages of oral sedation are that it’s easy to administer, you just swallow a pill or liquid, it has a low cost, the medication is safe and easy to monitor, and it works well for most patients. It’s great for standard procedures like check-ups and cleanings.

Nitrous Oxide

Another kind of sedation that we offer at Wimmer Dental is nitrous oxide, sometimes known as laughing gas. It is an inhaled sedation. You breathe in the nitrous oxide combined with oxygen through a mask that is placed over your nose. The gas you breathe in helps you relax while Dr. Wimmer properly controls the amount of sedation you receive.

Nitrous oxide provides you with a relaxed feeling that takes away your anxiety during your dental procedure. The gas tends to wear off quickly. Usually, only a few minutes after your dental procedure has been completed, the effects of the nitrous oxide are gone. It is still best if you have someone drive you home.

Some advantages of nitrous oxide are it works quickly, it can be controlled, it has very few side effects, you recover fast, it has flexible duration, and it’s effective.

IV Sedation

For more intensive procedures like extractions and implants, IV sedation might be the best solution to calm their fears.

If you need a deeper relaxation, then IV moderate sedation may be your choice. With this type of sedation, medication is given to you through an IV in one of your veins, so it goes to work more quickly. The doctor can adjust your level of sedation. It will let you relax more deeply and is more controlled than with oral sedation. With IV moderate sedation, you can talk to Dr. Wimmer and will likely be awake, but you will be extremely relaxed. You might even fall asleep and may not remember the dental procedure.

Often, in addition to these types of sedations to make you feel less anxiety, Dr. Wimmer may also use a numbing medication at the procedure location to help relieve any pain or discomfort that may occur.

Children and the Elderly

If children are afraid of going to the dentist or won’t cooperate during a visit, they may benefit from sedation. Nitrous oxide has been shown to be safe for children. We make sure we follow the recommended dose for the child’s age and weight.

Our older patients do very well with sedation but should always consult their regular health care provider prior to dental sedation.


Each state’s dental board carefully regulates the use of sedation techniques. It’s important that the dentist is well-trained and highly qualified to administer any type of sedation. Dr. Wimmer is a member of the American Dental Association, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, The American Academy of Implant Dentistry, The International Congress of Oral Implantologists, The American Dental Society of Anesthesiology, and the Academy of General Dentistry.

Medical History

Before your dental procedure, Dr. Wimmer will discuss your medical history to make sure you are an appropriate candidate for sedation and ask you about any medications you’re currently taking.

These types of sedation are very safe, but there are certain people, like those who may be extremely overweight or have obstructive sleep apnea, who should talk to their doctor before using sedation. In addition, people with chronic conditions, have asthma or other respiratory conditions may want to avoid sedation unless absolutely necessary.

Our experienced dentists and highly skilled dental team will always closely monitor your level of sedation to guarantee the greatest safety possible.

Hopefully, we have answered your questions about what is sedation dentistry and if it might be right for you. Wimmer Dental Care in Centennial takes the comfort of our patients very seriously and we will do everything we can to make sure we address your anxiety and concerns. We never want to let your fear or anxiety get in the way of good dental care. Dr. Wimmer provides the option of sedation to alleviate your concerns and provide a pleasant experience for your visit. At Matthew Wimmer Dental, we help our patients get the best care possible and provide dentistry that will improve your life. Contact us today if you’d like to schedule an appointment.