General |4 min read

How to Beat Dental Anxiety With Sedation Dentistry

Woman smiling at her sedation dentist

Scared of the dentist?

You’re not alone.

One study… This text opens a new tab to the National Institute of Health website… found that dental anxiety is estimated to affect about 36% of the American population!

Although many people know that their oral health plays a vital role in their total wellness, this fear may keep them regularly seeing a dentist.

And this may lead to significant health problems beyond your teeth and gums.

But, wait!

That’s where sedation dentistry comes in.

Sedation dentistry helps you relax during your dental appointments, conquering your dental fears.

In this quick blog, you’ll learn:

  • What sedation dentistry is
  • Types of sedation dentistry
  • If it really conquers dental anxiety

Let’s get started!

What is sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry can help manage your dental anxiety, fear, or phobia.

Its medications and methods help to alleviate stress and pain during your procedures so that you can receive the high-quality dental care you need (and deserve!).

Sedation dentistry is used for patients who:

  • Suffer from dental anxiety or fear
  • Need multiple procedures done at the same time
  • Undergo oral surgery

Depending on what dental treatment you need, a local anesthetic may be combined with a sedation method.

Keep in mind:

A local anesthetic only numbs the area being worked on to prevent pain and isn’t technically considered a type of sedation dentistry.

What are the types of sedation dentistry?

There are three types of sedation dentistry:

What is nitrous oxide?

Did you know laughing gas is a type of sedation dentistry?

Nitrous oxide is one of the most popular and lightest forms of sedation dentistry.

Once you inhale the gas from a face mask, you’ll begin to feel relaxed and giggly within 2 minutes.

The gas is odorless, colorless, and non-irritable to your nose and lungs.


It’s eliminated from the body within 3-5 minutes once the mask is removed so you can drive home.

What is oral sedation?

Oral sedation involves anti-anxiety medication, including Valium, Xanax, or Ativan.

This medication decreases activity in your brain that controls fear and anxiety. It’s especially effective in keeping you calm and preventing nervousness or movement that may disrupt your dentist’s work.

You’ll experience a serene calming effect, feeling happy and relaxed.

Oral sedation is often taken before and during your dental appointment. Afterward, you’ll need someone to drive you home.

What is IV sedation?

IV sedation is a heavier sedation option.

It’s administered directly into your bloodstream by an anesthesiologist.

Depending on your needs, the anesthesiologist will administer the corresponding level of sedative. You might experience:

  • Being completely asleep throughout the procedure
  • Feeling sleepy yet conscious enough to respond to requests from your dentist

You won’t be able to drive yourself home after the appointment.

Does sedation dentistry really work?

Yes, sedation dentistry is known to help ease dental anxiety and fear. However, the success of sedation dentistry does vary from patient to patient and the type of dental sedation used.

What type of sedation is best for you?

If you:

  • Hate shots, needles, or noises at the dentist
  • Have a strong gag reflex
  • Can’t sit still during dental treatments due to fear or anxiety

Then your oral sedation may be your best option. It’s lighter than an IV sedation, which is more ideal for dental fear, but stronger than laughing gas.

To confirm, talk to your dentist. They’ll complete a thorough examination of your current health and medical history and discuss your needs to determine the best sedation method for you.

Looking for a sedation dentist in West Chester, PA?

West Chester Dental Arts is proud to offer oral sedation dentistry to help eliminate dental anxiety and fear. Our dental team always prioritizes your comfort and care, ensuring your visit is as stress-free as possible.

Dr. Eric Fort completed over 100 hours of continuing education in anesthesia, pain control, and oral conscious sedation sponsored by the Oregon Academy of General Dentistry… This text opens a new tab to the official website….

Experience a relaxing visit with your free sedation dentistry consultation now.


We’re conveniently located in West Chester, PA… This text opens a new tab to the Google Maps website… and happily welcome patients from all over, including the neighboring communities of Chester County.

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