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Pacific Northwest Dental Care
Tim C. Tran, DMD, FICOI
Comprehensive, Sedation & Implant Dentistry

Sedation Dentistry

Sedation Dentistry in Tukwila - Receive the dental care you need without feeling nervous or apprehensive!

A significant number of Americans do not visit the dentist for regular checkups because they are too fearful or suffer from dental anxiety.  Sedation dentistry offers an excellent way to provide a safe, anxiety-free, dental experience to those who are afraid of the dentist.

Whatever the form of sedative, it is essential to be accompanied by a caregiver, which means that driving to or from the appointment is not permitted. Sedation dentistry for our dental patients is a safe and comfortable way to have your teeth cared for. With sleep dentistry, as it is commonly called, you won’t feel any pain or discomfort – in fact, you might not even remember the treatment you’ve received. Sometimes, sedatives are provided the night before to ensure a good night's rest.  

Here are some advantages associated with sedation dentistry:

  • Anxiety is alleviated.
  • Few side effects.
  • More can be accomplished during each visit.
  • No pain.
  • Perfectly safe.
  • Procedures seem to take less time.

What kinds of sedatives are available?

The most popular types of dental sedatives are nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and intravenous moderate sedation.   Different levels of sedation can be utilized depending on individual needs.  Before administering any sedative, Dr. Tranwill analyze the full medical history of the patient, taking note of any current medications.

Here is an overview of some of the most common types of dental sedatives:

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” is used as a mild sedative.  It is delivered through a nose hood, and is administered throughout the entire procedure..  Nitrous oxide elevates the mood and can evoke a general sense of well-being.  Most importantly, it relieves anxiety and reduces pain during the procedure.  In addition, some tingling and numbness may be felt. There are few side effects associated with nitrous oxide, and it has been safely used in dentistry for many years.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral conscious sedation is an excellent choice for people who fear needles and dental procedures.  Oral medication is provided prior to treatment in order to induce a moderate state of sedation usually making patients sleepy and dulling the senses.   This means that most patients cannot remember the pain, smells or noises associated with the procedure.  Usually, a dose of medication is taken prior to the appointment, and then topped up during the procedure as required.

Intravenous Moderate Sedation

This is the next level of sedation administered if oral sedation is not enough to facilitate needed dental treatment. In this case, the sedative medication is delivered through a small needle or catheter placed in a vein.  It is generally fast acting and easily controlled to the desired level of sedation and quickly reversed at the end of the procedure.


What types of drugs are used in sedation?

Most of the drugs used in sedation dentistry are classified as benzodiazepines.  Benzodiazepines reduce anxiety, muscle spasms, insomnia and seizures.  Each medication has a different half-life, meaning that the effects last for varying amounts of time.  The estimated length of the procedure determines which type of drug is going to be most effective.

Here are some of the most common drugs used in oral conscious sedation:

Valium® – This sedative has amnesic properties and a long half-life. It is usually used for time-consuming, complex procedures.

Halcion® – Usually used to treat insomnia, Halcion is an effective sedative with amnesic properties.  A short half-life makes this sedative useful for shorter procedures.

Here are some of the most common drugs used in IV moderate sedation:

Versed® – This sedative has amnesic properties and a short half-life.  It is usually used for shorter, surgical procedures.

Valium® – This sedative has amnesic properties and a long half-life.  It is usually used for time-consuming, complex procedures.

Fentanyl – This synthetic opioid contributes to the sedative effect, reducing the need for larger amounts of the other sedation medications. It also helps with pain control during dental procedures and with pain relief after the procedures are completed.


If you have questions or concerns about sedation dentistry, please contact our office.