Oral Sedation


A bit of anxiety is enough to make patients back out of a dental procedure. Many people even avoid visiting a dental clinic at all because of the possible discomfort and pain. However, there could be worse problems down the road if the procedure was not performed.

Oral sedation somehow takes away that anxiety because patients are now able to relax during dental procedures. In most cases patients can still listen and respond to the dentist. Also, the effects eventually wear off. In mild sedation cases, you can still drive home safely after the dental treatment.

Is sedation safe for kids?

Nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) can help kids remain calm especially when the dental procedure seems discomforting or intimidating. Kids won’t be put to sleep but they can remain relaxed and calm. This way, the important procedure will still be done.

The effects wear off naturally. But many dentists still give pure oxygen to the patient to eliminate all the remaining nitrous oxide. As a parent, you don’t have to worry about your child’s safety because properly administered nitrous oxide has no lingering side effects.

During the dental visit, it’s recommended that the parent have psychologically prepared their children for the sedation and the overall procedure. When the nitrous oxide was administered, the dentist and staff might also monitor the child’s blood pressure and heart rate (for safety reasons and peace of mind).

Other types of oral sedation

Although nitrous oxide is administered through inhalation, there are other types of sedation that would be administered in the form of pills and injections. Often these are required in long and complex dental procedures (or if the patient experiences much anxiety).

For example, the patient might choose to take a pill. After an hour, the patient will feel drowsy. It’s difficult to be alert and responsive in this state but the patient can still be awakened with a gentle tap or shake.

In other cases the drug may be administered through a vein. It’s straightforward which makes the drug work more quickly. In addition, the dentist can easily adjust the level of sedation. The method of sedation often depends on the patient’s condition and the dental procedure to be performed.

After the sedation & procedure

Mild sedation does not have any long-term effects. But for heavier types of sedation, loss of physical coordination and nausea might last a bit longer.

On the day of the dental procedure, it’s important to minimise physical activities especially after the treatment. It’s also recommended that kids don’t go back to the school or day care facility yet so they can have enough time to recover.

It’s often natural to experience a few side effects but these won’t last long. If the dental sedation is properly administered by an experienced dentist, you will mostly experience relaxation while the main dental procedure is being performed.

Here at Rickard Dental Centre, we can explain to you the options you have when it comes to sedation and the main dental treatment. You can book an appointment (call us at 02 9708 6700) with us so we can explore your options after the dental examination.