As we’ve written about in the past, dental anxiety and dental phobia are among the main reasons why people avoid seeing the dentist. At Austin Dental, our team goes above and beyond to reduce anxiety surrounding dental appointments.

We believe you deserve to look forward to the dentist — and we’ll work with you to make sure that’s exactly what happens.

Sedation dentistry is one of the most effective tools available to reduce dental anxiety. Keep reading to learn more about how and why our dentists recommend sedation options to their patients. We’ll answer some of the most common questions we hear from our patients.

Why sedation dentistry?

Fear of pain is one of the biggest reasons people feel nervous before they see the dentist. Modern anesthetics and sedation dentistry ensure that you’re calm, relaxed, and comfortable throughout any treatment.

If you’re putting off recommended treatment because you’re worried it might hurt, you owe it to yourself to ask about sedation options. When it comes to your dental health, problems never get better on their own. Sedation dentistry can help you get the care you need today and prevent bigger issues tomorrow.

“All of our dentists are residency-trained in IV conscious sedation and can help guide even the most anxious patients on their journey to healthy, happy smiles.
Sedation dentistry can be used to help manage anxiety from dental hygiene visits, fillings, and crowns as well as more complicated surgical procedures.”

Dr. Albert Olivares, D.D.S.

Is sedation dentistry right for me?

Nearly everyone can benefit from some form of sedation dentistry, even if you don’t consider yourself “dental phobic.” There’s just no reason to “grin and bear it.” The right sedation option can make any dental treatment more comfortable and less stressful than you ever thought possible.

That said, your dentist will work with you to determine if you’re a good candidate for sedation dentistry and which option might be best for you. In some cases, prescriptions you’re taking, allergies to medications, or your health history may affect our recommendations.

At Austin Dental, we offer sedation options for nearly every type of treatment, including:

What types of sedation do you offer?

At Austin Dental, we offer 3 sedation options: nitrous oxide, oral sedation, and IV sedation. 

Nitrous oxide

You’ll wear a small and comfortable mask over your nose before and during your treatment. It will make you feel really relaxed and even a little giddy. You’ll still be able to communicate with your dentist and can let them know if you need more anesthesia or if you start to feel uncomfortable. As a very light level of sedation, nitrous oxide wears off quickly.

Oral sedation

Our dentists can prescribe oral medications that you take before your appointment. These medications reduce anxiety before and during a visit to Austin Dental. Oral sedation can be used in conjunction with other sedation options to further reduce anxiety. Oral sedation does take a bit longer to wear off, recommend that you have someone available to drive you home after treatment.

IV sedation

Most dentists in Austin don’t offer this! It’s also known as “twilight” sedation and is a great and safe alternative to deeper general anesthesia. With IV sedation, you’ll be awake throughout your treatment and can communicate with your dentist. The level of medication can be adjusted throughout your treatment to provide deeper or lighter sedation as needed.

Best of all, the memory of your visit will fade quickly and you’ll almost forget it ever happened! But, the recovery time for IV sedation is a bit longer and you will need someone to drive you home afterward.

Many dentists in Austin aren’t trained in the use of IV sedation. But at Austin Dental, all of our dentists are residency-trained in the use of IV sedation. We can help guide even the most anxious patients on their journey to healthy, happy smiles!

Does insurance cover sedation?

Every dental insurance policy is different and there’s no definitive way to answer this question with a one-size-fits-all answer. If you do have insurance, we can help you maximize your dental benefits and will gladly file your claim for the treatment that we have provided and send any additional information to expedite your claim.

How long does dental sedation take to wear off?

If you’ve had a cavity filled before, you’re probably familiar with the tingling feeling as the numbing wears off over the next few hours. Sedation dentistry is a little different. Nitrous oxide will wear off within minutes of the end of your treatment. IV sedation and oral sedation will take a bit longer to wear off and depend on your metabolism and other factors. We’ll let you relax in our office for a little bit after treatment and make sure you have a way to get home safely.

Does dental sedation mean I’ll be asleep?

General anesthesia (like what’s used in hospitals during many surgeries) is the form of sedation that makes you fall “asleep.” Oral sedation, IV sedation, and nitrous oxide don’t make you fall asleep, although you will feel extremely relaxed. We prefer these options because they allow you to communicate with your dentist and carry fewer risks than general anesthesia. General anesthesia requires intubation (use of a tube that helps you breathe). All sedation options at our office allow you to safely breathe on your own without the need for extra equipment.

Does IV sedation make you tell secrets or act funny?

We’ve all seen David After Dentist and Taylor Swift getting emotional about a banana following eye surgery. Will you act like that? The truth is, probably not. Reactions like this are most common after general anesthesia or strong prescription medications provided after treatment. 

You might be a little loopy or feel “tipsy,” but you won’t end up as a viral Youtube sensation. Remember, we’re health care professionals and we take your privacy VERY seriously.

If you’re concerned about how you might feel under anesthesia, ask your dentist. We’ll answer any questions you have.

Interested in learning more about sedation dentistry?

Schedule your appointment at Austin Dental today!