What’s the difference between sedation dentistry and anesthesia for surgery?


I’ve recently moved here and within the past 2 months I have received several postcards for dentists in the area. 2 or 3 of the postcards I have are for sedation dentists. This year one of my resolutions is to keep my dentists appointments. Since I have moved to a new area maybe this is a good time to get back on track. Sedation dentistry might be a good idea for me but I am not sure that I want to be knocked out for the appointment. I have a background in law enforcement and security so I like to know what’s going on around me. My wife says that sedation isn’t like anesthesia you get for surgery. If it isn’t the same, what’s the difference and what’s the point?

Thanks, Dylan


When sedation dentistry is administered, patients are conscious. Unlike general anesthesia which makes you unconscious, sedation dentistry puts you in a very relaxed state.

The levels of sedation dentistry include nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation. If you receive nitrous oxide (laughing gas), know that it is the mildest form of sedation available.

Your dentist’s goal will be to help you relax with the minimum amount of sedation necessary—based on the dental procedure and your level and anxiety.

Even though patients are conscious, some are so relaxed that they fall asleep throughout the dental procedure. After you receive a dental procedure with sedation, you will probably be willing to have it administered for any future dental treatment you need. Sometimes sedation dentistry increases the comfort level of a patient to the point that he or she doesn’t require sedation for every dental procedure.

If you receive oral conscious sedation, drowsiness will linger after your dental procedure. Arrange for transportation to and from the appointment, just as you would for outpatient surgery. Keep in mind that you will not be under general anesthesia.

If you are interested in this treatment, visit a few dentists to learn which forms of sedation are offered. Find out if the dentist has received any training for sedation. Depending on which levels of sedation are used, minimal training is required.

You will likely find your dental visits much more productive if you choose sedation.


This post is sponsored by Lowell, MA dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

I don’t sleep for 48 hours will it reduce my fear at the dentist’s office?


I have serious dental phobia. I am wondering if I don’t sleep for 48 hours or so will it help me sleep at the dentist. If I can’t fall asleep totally I am hoping that the sleepiness will reduce the level of my fear. – Kenny from Greenfield

Kenny – It is dangerous not to sleep for 48 hours for any reason. There are dentists who can help you relax without putting you in danger or at risk of having a serious accident.

A sedation dentist, sometimes called a sleep dentist, can either give you nitrous oxide gas to help you relax, or as a stronger solution, a mild sedative.

You will be conscious, but completely relaxed, so you can have a productive dental appointment. You probably won’t remember any of the appointment.

Do an Internet search for “sedation dentist” to find this type of dentist in your area.

This post is sponsored by Lowell dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

Too many extractions at once?



My doctor recommends that I have 10 teeth extracted, including four wisdom teeth. I am very nervous about having this kind of surgery. I know I have bad teeth—that is why I avoided going to the dentist for too long. But having 10 teeth removed at once sounds like it would be very traumatic and painful, with a difficult recovery. Some background information: I am 25 years old and in good health, except for my teeth. Is it dangerous to have this many teeth extracted at once?


Rita from Lexington

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