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What Type of Sedation Is Right For Me

For certain dental procedures, your dentist will suggest various forms of sedation, what kind of sedation is appropriate for you and your particular procedure is going to depend on a number of factors.  Generally speaking, local anesthesia, numbing of the area being worked on, is going to be appropriate for most procedures.  However, under certain circumstances, general anesthesia may be necessary, or appropriate for your individual case.  If you have a severe phobia of dental work that cannot be addressed with the administration of a calming agent like Valium, general sedation may be advised, though this occurs infrequently.  There are more than just these two forms of sedation, there are actually four different varieties, each of which is described below.

Intravenous or IV Sedation

IV sedation is done by administering the sedative through an IV placed in the patient’s arm throughout the procedure.  IV sedation is used in cases where the procedure would cause the patient a great deal of discomfort throughout, or where it may be inappropriate to proceed with a lesser form of sedation.  IV sedation leaves the patient calm and relaxed throughout the procedure and can cost from $200-$700 depending on certain factors.

Oral Sedation

This is a milder form of sedation than IV sedation, and what is being administered is often a calming agent like Valium.  In addition to being milder, it is also a much less expensive form of sedation, often running as low as $150, though it can be as much as $500. The overall cost depends upon a number of factors, but the duration of the procedure plays heavily into it.

Gas Inhalants

Most of us have heard this referred to as “Laughing Gas”, and is professionally known as Nitrous Oxide.  This gas permits the patient to remain calm and relaxed throughout the procedure while remaining aware of their surroundings.  In some cases, oral sedation, gas inhalants, and a local numbing agent will all be combined to create the most comfortable experience possible for the patient.  It is easily the most affordable form of sedation, with a cost between $25 and $125.  This sedation comes with the benefit of wearing off rapidly.

General Anesthesia

This is the most expensive form of anesthesia available and is only used for the most intense forms of dental surgery. With general anesthesia, the patient is complete sedated and unaware of what’s happening during the surgery.  At $600 an hour on average, this form of sedation is rarely used except when absolutely necessary.  In order to perform general anesthesia or IV sedation, your dentist must be certified to do so, which is part of the reason for the additional cost.

Choosing a sedation method for your procedure is something you will discuss with your dentist, who will suggest the most appropriate method.  If you have any concerns or hesitations, it is important to discuss these with your dentist during your consultation that precedes the procedure itself.  This conversation will ensure that you are as comfortable as possible during your procedure.


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