Why Should I Consider Dental Sedation?

Regular dental check-ups and, when required, prompt treatment for any issues that may have arisen are essential for long term oral health and to maintain a gorgeous smile. Today, dentists are just as concerned with patient experience as they are with your oral health, and as such, many are implementing ways to make dental appointments and treatment as easy as possible. One way we are doing this is by offering patients the opportunity to have dental sedation. Here’s what you need to know about dental sedation and why you should consider it for your next visit to your dentist in Federal Way, WA.

What is dental sedation?


Dental sedation, also known as sedation dentistry or sleep dentistry, is where medication is used to help patients to relax and feel at ease when they are visiting the dentist. Unless you have a general anaesthetic (which is only really recommended in serious circumstances), you will still be awake, but you will have limited awareness of what is happening around you, and this will help to put you at ease. There are different levels of sedation, and which you’ll need will depend on the work that you need carried out and your reasons for seeking sedation. These are:


Nitrous oxide:

the lightest sedation and is only effective while you are breathing the gas in.


Oral sedation:

medications taken around an hour before your treatment, with slightly stronger effects that can last for several hours after your appointment.


IV sedation:

delivered intravenously, this medication places you on the edge of consciousness and effects can last for up to 24 hours.


Sedation dentistry is a popular choice among many patients – and not just those with dental phobia either! In fact, sedation dentistry appeals to a wide range of different patients for several reasons.


Reasons to consider dental sedation

You could benefit from dental sedation if you fall into any of the following categories.


You have dental phobia

Dental anxiety is extremely common, affecting as many as 50% of people. However, some patients have such fear of the dentist that they develop what is known as dental phobia, and this is believed to affect around 15% of the adult population. Patients can develop dental phobia for a range of reasons, including:

  • Inherited fear from their parents/guardians.

  • A bad experience with dental work in the past.

  • They have particularly sensitive oral nerves which can make their treatment seem more invasive than it is.

  • They have generalized anxiety disorder.


Unsurprisingly, dental phobia can make it difficult for patients to even attend their regular appointments, let alone have necessary work carried out. This can lead to their oral health suffering, and this in turn could put them at risk of some other general health issues, since poor oral hygiene has been linked to conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Fortunately, sedation makes it possible for very anxious and nervous patients to tolerate the treatments that will keep their teeth and mouth healthy.


You have disabilities that interfere with dental treatment

Disabilities come in many different forms. Some can interfere with your ability to undergo dental treatment. For example:

  • Some patients have physical disabilities that make it impossible to hold their mouth open for a long period of time.

  • You may not be able to sit still; something which is crucial when sharp instruments are being used.

  • You may be at increased risk of swallowing your tongue or have a particularly small mouth that makes treatment tricky.

  • Some patients may be resistant to local anaesthetic.

  • You may not understand or be able to comply with instructions.


Sedation dentistry makes it possible for most patients with disabilities to be able to receive the dental care that they need.


You have been putting off dental appointments and require extensive treatment

Most dental problems are progressive, meaning that without treatment, they will almost certainly get worse over time. If you’ve skipped appointments with your dentist or delayed any treatment that you’ve previously been told that you’ve needed, chances are that when you do get the restorative work that you need, it will be more extensive than you expect. If you’ve put off dental treatment and are worried about the effects of having done so, you might want to consider dental sedation so that you can have as much work as possible carried out in a single appointment. Sedation will make it much easier to tolerate longer and more invasive treatment, enabling your dentist to try and get your oral health up to scratch in just one visit.


If you would like more information about dental sedation, please don’t hesitate to contact our expert team. Call (253)-799-1490 to schedule an appointment or consultation today.

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