Sedation Dentistry: Will I remember anything?


For patients with serious dental anxiety that prevents them from getting the dental care they need, sedation dentistry can present a good solution to help them overcome that fear.

One of the many benefits of sedation dentistry is that the medications used to relax the patient also have an amnestic effect. That is, the patient typically has no memory of the appointment after the sedative’s effects wear off. This protects the patient from negative memories of the visit that can reinforce the dental fear.

Sedation dentistry has a number of benefits beyond its amnestic effects. First and foremost, getting a sedative is the only way for some patients to relax enough to even see the dentist to begin with. Whether it’s a routine exam and cleaning or a more involved intervention to treat decay or improve a smile’s aesthetics, dental treatments are tremendously valuable for promoting both your oral health and your self-esteem.

Sedation dentistry has a number of benefits beyond its amnestic effects.

The anti-anxiety medications help patients achieve a state of deep relaxation without losing consciousness. Although this specialty is sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry,” patients never actually fall asleep. They’re just so relaxed that it feels as though they are sleeping.

Because patients remain conscious under sedation, their airways are not compromised and they can respond to the dentist’s requests. This differs significantly from general anesthesia, which renders the patient unconscious and requires artificial airway maintenance. The effects of sedatives also wear off more quickly, but patients who are under sedation still must make arrangements for a responsible adult to take them home from the appointment. The sedatives will not wear off before it’s time to leave the office.

Patients have a number of choices for delivery of the sedative medications as well. The drugs may be taken in pill form or intravenously. Nitrous oxide gas also can be inhaled to achieve a similar effect.

Patients who want to choose sedation dentistry should discuss all of the advantages and risks in advance with their dentist to make a well-informed choice. If you think that you may benefit from sedation dentistry, contact our skilled dental team at 817-485-2111 to learn more about your options.