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Sedation Dentistry

If you find it challenging to be relaxed in the dental chair, then you might consider our Calgary sedation dentistry services. Some patients feel stressed and anxious about dental treatments, resulting in a situation where they endure a toothache over stepping foot in a dental office. At Southcentre Dental, we offer a relaxing environment and medical options to support the dental treatments that are needed.

Choosing our Calgary sedation dentistry can produce a feeling of calm and relaxation before, during, and even after nearly any dental procedure. This treatment uses medication to help you relax. Unlike general anesthesia that puts you to sleep, most patients are awake during the treatment.

Levels of Sedation

You have the option to talk to a sedation dentist in Calgary, such as Southcentre Dental, about the type of sedation that fits your needs. In addition to the sedation, you will also receive a local anesthetic to numb the site where the dental work is needed. 

There are four levels of sedation to consider:


Inhaled Sedation: Commonly known as “laughing gas,” this type of sedation is administered by breathing nitrous oxide. A mask is placed over your nose, helping you relax as you breathe the gas. Your sedation dentist in Calgary has the ability to manage the amount of nitrous oxide you receive. Typically, the sedation effect wears off quickly after the mask is removed.


IV Sedation: A form of moderate sedation can be administered through an IV in the dental office. IV sedation is not as common as inhaled sedation or oral medication. As with nitrous oxide, the dentist has the control to make continual adjustments to the sedation level.


Oral Sedation: A dosage of medication can be given via a pill or a drink for children. Usually, the sedation medication is administered an hour before the treatment. You will likely feel drowsy but still be awake and relaxed. If moderate sedation is needed, then a larger dose can be administered.


General Anesthesia: In some cases, patients choose general anesthesia that makes them totally unconscious. This sedation is typically limited to hospitals or a specialty sedation dentist in Calgary with specific accreditation to provide deep sedation.

Is Sedation Dentistry Right for You?

Are you thinking about visiting a sedation dentist in Calgary? Sedation is a great option for people who experience anxiety or fear about visiting the dentist. It can also be helpful for patients with sensitive teeth, have a low pain threshold, or need a large amount of dental work in one visit. Sometimes sedation is an option when a child refuses to cooperate during the dental visit.

During your initial consultation at our Calgary office, Dr. Jennifer Silver will listen carefully to any concerns you may have about comfort during your general, restorative, or cosmetic dentistry procedure to help you determine if sedation may be of benefit to you. Please call us at (403) 278-1415 to schedule your consultation and learn more.

Sedation in Dentistry FAQ

Who Benefits From Dental Sedation?
  • Patients with dental anxiety
  • Patients with sensitive teeth
  • Patients with a low pain threshold
  • Patients with an active gag reflex

This list is obviously far from exhaustive. You can ask Dr. Silver if you’re a good candidate for dental sedation dentistry at your initial consultation.

How Sedated Will I Be?

The most common type of dental sedation we practice relies on oral sedation instead of intravenous drugs. About an hour before your dental sedation Dr. Silver will give you a mild sedative. The medication will help to relax you. We will not start any treatment until you are relaxed.

  • You will need a ride home after your appointment so you will need to arrange a companion.
  • You will need to take the day off work but you will be Ok to work the following day.
  • For many patients  the big benefit of sedation is you have very little memory or in some cases no memory of the procedures
What procedures can you use sedation for?

Sedation can be used for any dental procedure. We don’t want fear to be an obstacle to receiving the care you want. We have patients who receive sedation for routine dental cleanings all the way to more complex procedures such as veneers and implants.

Again, you shouldn’t’t just assume that your procedure is incompatible with sedation . Dr. Silver is happy to discuss dental sedation with you at your initial consultation.

To learn if sedation dentistry could be of benefit to you, call (403) 278-1415 and schedule a consultation at our Calgary office today. There are many reasons people look to sedation during dental procedures. Some of the most common are:

  • Experience sensitive teeth
  • Have a low tolerance for discomfort
  • Have a sensitive gag reflex
  • Require multiple treatments

Fear and anxiety regarding medical procedures in general or dental treatments in particular can stem from any number of previous experiences. Sedation dentistry is often a gentle and effective way to deal with these emotional discomforts, enabling you to enjoy the benefits of dental services without the fear or anxiety that may accompany them.

In addition to assisting with anxiety and fear, sedation dentistry may be of benefit if you have:

  • An overactive gag reflex
  • Sensitive teeth
  • TMJ
  • Difficulties getting numb
  • General restlessness

There are a number of conditions – both physical and emotional – that can make sedation beneficial prior to your treatment. Dr. Silver can discuss these in detail during your initial consultation to help you determine if sedation dentistry is a good solution for your needs.

To learn more about sedation dentistry in Calgary or surrounding areas of Alberta, please contact Southcentre Dental Clinic and schedule an appointment today.

Dental Sedation is a method Dr. Silver uses to help alleviate the fear and anxiety that can accompany any dental procedure. Using time-tested methods, dental sedation offered in our office is capable of producing feelings of relaxation without the risks associated with general anesthesia. Calgary, Alberta dentist Dr. Silver believes that everyone deserves to feel comfortable during their general and cosmetic dental procedures. Working with each patient on an individual basis, Dr. Silver can help you determine if dental sedation is right for you.

Our Dental Sedation Procedures

The most common dental sedation procedure performed at Southcentre Dental Clinic is oral sedation. With oral sedation, you will be given a mild sedative in pill form about an hour prior to your dental procedure. The medication in this pill will be strong enough to help you feel completely relaxed, yet gentle enough to allow you to remain conscious and able to respond to Dr. Silver’s instructions. This method has proven effective in treating even the most severe dental phobias, and is suitable for nearly all of our adult patients.

The type of dental sedation that is best suited to meet your needs will be determined during your initial consultation with Dr. Silver. With these options, you can receive the general dental care you need, and the cosmetic dental services you deserve without the fear and discomfort that can accompany any trip to the dentist’s office.

If anxiety of the dentist or fear of dental procedures has prevented you from seeking the care you need, you may be a candidate for sedation dentistry.

Sedation dentistry uses a prescription sedative that provides a deep state of relaxation for your treatment. Calgary dentist Dr. Jennifer Silver can help you determine if sedation dentistry is right for you.

From dental checkups and teeth cleanings to cosmetic dentistry services, sedation dentistry can be used in a wide range of procedures. Sedation dentistry consists of an oral sedative that is taken prior to your treatment; this sedative allows you to remain conscious but feel deeply relaxed during your office visit.

In addition to easing the anxieties of those with dental phobias, sedation dentistry can also benefit patients who:

  • Dental anxiety
  • Sensitive teeth
  • A low pain threshold
  • Difficulty getting numb
  • Complex dental issues which require extensive procedures
  • Difficulty sitting still in the dentist’s chair
  • An active gag reflex
  • Traumatic dental experiences in the past

To learn if you’re a candidate to enjoy the benefits of sedation dentistry, please contact Southcentre Dental Clinic to schedule your appointment. We welcome patients from the greater Calgary, Alberta, area.

Commonly Asked Questions

What drug is used for sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry uses different types of medication, depending on the type of sedative approach being used.

For instance, inhalation sedation with laughing gas uses a mixture of pure oxygen and nitrous gas. As you inhale them together, the mild analgesic helps you feel relaxed within a few minutes.

For oral sedation, a prescription sedative is taken by mouth (usually in a pill form, but sometimes a liquid) about an hour before your treatment is scheduled to start in our Southcentre Mall office. That way there’s plenty of time for the medication to start working and “get into your system”. This type of sedative medication does take a few hours to totally wear off, so you’ll need to have someone drive you home from our Calgary dentist practice.

Please be sure to let us know if you have any food or drug allergies (including eggs). You’ll also need to provide a list of any prescription or over-the-counter medication that you’re taking so that we can be sure nothing interacts with the sedative we’re planning to use. Since there are a few options available, be sure to ask which one we’ll use for your situation.

Can you request to be sedated at the dentist?

Absolutely. Dental sedation makes it easier for people to sit through longer procedures, overcome dental anxiety and phobia, or book multiple treatments in a single appointment.

Depending on the type of sedation we’re using, you can also ask for a sedative to be added onto your appointment at the last minute. Laughing gas is quickly reversible and safe enough to use on all ages, so it’s a common add-on for routine dental appointments. Nitrous oxide sedation only takes a few minutes to start working, so you can even ask for it at the last minute if you feel like you would benefit from it.

However, deeper sedation (such as those using oral sedatives) need to be planned in advance. If you want to make sure that you’re as comfortable as possible or have a heightened fear of the dentist, then oral sedation is likely the best choice. Be sure to let us know that you’re considering sedation during your exam so that we can determine if it’s appropriate for your medical needs.

What can I expect from dental sedation?

If you’re getting nitrous oxide sedation, your appointment won’t be very different from your routine procedure. The only difference is that we’ll spend a few minutes beforehand and afterwards having you breath through the soft nosepiece as the analgesic medication takes effect, then wears off. You’ll be totally “back to normal” by the time the procedure is over, so there aren’t any lingering side effects to be aware of.

Stronger sedation treatments are a bit different. You’ll need to have someone with you to drive you home afterward, and it can take a few hours for the sedative to totally wear off. Even then, you’ll probably feel a bit groggy for the rest of the day. A common side effect of dental sedation is amnesia, so there’s a good chance that you don’t even remember anything about your appointment.

Which type of sedation is right for you? Our Calgary dentist will make a recommendation based on the length of your appointment and the procedures that you need. Be honest about your past experiences and comfort level! We’re here to ensure that your visit is a positive one.

Can the dentist put you to sleep for a cavity?

For routine fillings, you usually won’t need anything more than a bit of local anesthetic (numbing medication) to numb the tooth that has a cavity. But for those of us who get nervous about injections or trips to the dentist’s in general, sedation can help to take the edge off. That being said, you likely won’t need something that’s so strong that it “puts you to sleep.” The best option for a cavity will probably be nitrous oxide sedation (laughing gas).

On the other hand, aggressive tooth decay or individuals who have severe anxiety or for people with special needs, it might not be possible to sit through a routine filling appointment and still be aware of everything going on around you. If that’s the situation, we can discuss a deeper level of sedation on a case-by-case basis. Ultimately, we need to help you feel comfortable and relaxed enough to get medically necessary dental care.

For the most part, general anesthesia (what most people are referring to when they ask to be put to sleep) is reserved for more complex oral surgeries.

What is the average cost of dental sedation?

Dental sedation can range from a one-time affordable fee that’s added on to your routine visit, to a more complex process that involves additional charges related to the detailed observation process used.

If the sedation is covered by your dental insurance, you may not have to pay anything out of pocket. Usually, a portion is included in your benefits and we can estimate the total costs involved at the time of your exam. At that point, we’ll provide you with a detailed treatment plan that lists out itemized fees related to each planned procedure, including sedation costs.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that getting sedation can help them save money in the long run, because they’re no longer putting off the treatment that they need. Feeling comfortable enough to go ahead and catch up on the care their teeth require will keep treatment expenses to a minimum, compared to problems compounding and becoming more expensive to treat down the road. When you think of it that way, it’s like the sedation helps pay for itself!

What type of anesthesia is used for oral surgery?

Most oral surgeries like wisdom tooth extractions call for general anesthesia, or IV sedation. When that’s the case, the medication is delivered via a small intravenous line directly into your bloodstream. This delivery method helps the anesthesia start working very quickly and can be turned off as soon as the surgery is over. Plus, it’s predictable and can be safely monitored by a licensed anesthesia provider (which can be a dentist or nurse anesthetist.)

Unless you need a surgical procedure like wisdom tooth extractions, sinus lifts, or multiple dental implants installed in one day, you likely won’t need anesthesia for your procedure. A milder sedative can offer a comfortable experience without the complexity of IV medication.

If you do suspect that you’ll need general anesthesia, we’ll want to select an appropriate medication based on your unique health circumstances. Be sure to let us know if you’ve undergone any recent surgeries, hospitalizations, what drug allergies you have (if any), and what other medications you’re currently taking (even if they’re over the counter.)

Can I request to be put to sleep at the dentist?

Anyone can ask to be put to sleep during their dental procedure. But before we determine the best type of sedation or anesthesia for your situation, it’s important that we understand why you want to be put to sleep. Is it because of past experiences? Dental anxiety? Saving time and completing multiple procedures in one visit? When we understand the root of your concern, we can better curate a gentle and efficient experience while you’re in care.

Most people who ask to be put to sleep don’t realize that lighter forms of sedation are available, which allow you to remain fully conscious (but sometimes still forget the appointment altogether!) Lighter sedatives such as oral sedation or nitrous oxide (laughing gas) offer great benefits without the complexity of IV anesthesia. The best part is that laughing gas can be requested at any time, even if we’ve already started your treatment. Other types of sedatives or anesthesia require advance planning, because of how the medication is delivered and how long the effects last.

Ask our Calgary dentist if “sleeping” through your dental visit is necessary, or if a lighter alternative is your best option!

Does dental insurance cover IV sedation?

Any time that our Calgary dentist recommends a specific type of treatment, we’ll draft a care plan that outlines the fees involved and how your dental insurance is estimated to cover them. When it comes to sedation or IV anesthesia/sedation, it’s no different. Sometimes, we can even check to see if the service is included as part of your traditional medical benefits, depending on the need for the sedation.

When you make an appointment, be sure to bring a copy of all insurance cards with you. That way our treatment coordinators can contact your carrier to determine a detailed breakdown of the benefits that your plan includes. Once we contact them, we’ll have the numbers to “crunch” when it comes to figuring out what’s covered (including IV sedation.)

For dental procedures that are medically necessary and require sedation or anesthesia, it may be possible to get your dental insurance carrier to cover all or some of the expenses. Examples might include oral surgery, wisdom tooth extraction, or when special needs prevent the individual from sitting through a regular appointment.

What is the oral sedation that dentists use?

Calgary sedation dentists who use oral sedation inside of their offices might use medications such as Valium (Diazepam), Halcion (Triazolam), Sonata (Zaleplon), or Ativan (Lorazepam) just to name a few. Each offers different benefits depending on the patient’s medical history, age, and the level of sedation that’s needed.

Before selecting the type of sedation medication to use, our Calgary dentist will need to review your past sedation experiences, discuss things like drug allergies, and know about any other medications or supplements that you’re currently taking.

If you have specific medical needs, or a complex health history, we can also discuss the sedation process with your primary care physician ahead of time to confirm the appropriate care plan.

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