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Why would I need to be sedated for a dental procedure?

Over 35 million Americans have some level of anxiety when it comes to going to the dentist. Your fears may have caused you to neglect your oral health and feel embarrassed about your smile. But have to fear, Dr. Zak and his team of specialists and anesthesiologists will minimizing your pain and anxiety by providing maximum comfort and relaxation.

What is sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry or sleep dentistry is the state of the art, comprehensive approach in dentistry. With Sedation Dentistry, just about any dental procedure including full mouth reconstructions and smile makeovers can be performed in the absolute minimum number of appointments. Below are descriptions of three types of sedation dentistry that Zak Dental offices in Agoura Hills, Covina/San Dimas, Downey, Long Beach, North Park, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Simi Valley, Temecula, Valencia, Ventura, and Whittier/La Mirada can offer you.

IV Sedation in Dentistry
What is IV Sedation?

IV Sedation or Intravenous Sedation is a technique of providing pain relief, during painful procedures in dentistry. It involves intravenous injection of a sedative, which will make you drowsy and unaware of pain during your dental procedure or surgery.

How do you feel after IV Sedation?

You will awaken from sedation dentistry feeling rested and without any negative memories of the dental procedure. IV Sedation dentistry is a specialty that provides the ultimate comfort during dental treatment. It is far more effective at eliminating pain and anxiety than simple “pill” or “gas” sedation, which we also offer in less severe circumstances. Less than one percent of dentists in California are licensed to perform IV sedation. At Zak Dental our team of experienced cosmetic dentists and anesthesiologists, have a proven track record of safe and successful IV sedation that spans over twenty years! When it comes to your safety, our team of experts will take good care of you.

Nitrous Oxide Sedation in Dentistry
How Does Nitrous Oxide Sedation work?

Inhalation sedation, also known as nitrous oxide sedation, is historically the most widely used dental sedation technique by dentists. The patient breathes a mixture of nitrous oxide (N20) and oxygen through a nasal mask. The gas causes a euphoric effect (for this reason, it is often referred as laughing gas) which not only relaxes you within seconds but also provides lasting pain relief throughout your dental procedure.

Oral Sedation in Dentistry
Why is Oral Sedation the easiest to administer?

Oral sedation is another method of dental relaxation, mainly due to the easiness of administration. With oral sedation, you will be given a sedative pill to take by the mouth the night before your appointment or/and few hours prior to your dental visit. By the time of the appointment, you will be in a relaxed state and remains calm and free of anxiety during the entire procedure. Since you will already be under the effect of the medication on the way to the dental office, we recommend you have someone drive you to and from your appointment for safety reasons.

Why choose Zak Dental to administer your Sedation Dentistry?
  • Top cosmetic dentists and anesthesiologists.
  • IV, oral, nitrous sedation certified.
  • Top cosmetic laboratories.
  • State-of-the-art equipment.


If you live in Southern California, feel free to Schedule a New Patient Visit with us in Zak Dental offices in Agoura Hills, Covina/San Dimas, Downey, Long Beach, North Park, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Simi Valley, Temecula, Valencia, Ventura, and Whittier/La Mirada, California.

Please Call us at 833-ZAK-TEAM with any additional questions you would like us to answer.

Sedation Dentistry FAQ


What is sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry involves using medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. It can be beneficial for individuals who experience dental anxiety or fear, have a low pain threshold, have difficulty sitting still for long periods, or require extensive dental work.

What types of sedation are used in dentistry?

There are several types of sedation used in dentistry, including:

    • Nitrous oxide (laughing gas): A safe and commonly used sedative administered through a mask placed over the nose.
    • Oral sedation: Prescription medications taken orally before the dental appointment to induce relaxation and reduce anxiety.
    • Intravenous (IV) sedation: Medications administered through a vein for a deeper level of sedation, often used for more complex procedures.
    • General anesthesia: A controlled state of unconsciousness induced using medications, typically reserved for extensive procedures or patients with severe dental phobia.

Is sedation dentistry safe?

When administered by a qualified dentist or anesthesiologist, sedation dentistry is generally safe. Dentists carefully evaluate each patient’s medical history and tailor the sedation approach to their individual needs to minimize risks.

Who is a candidate for sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry may be suitable for individuals who experience dental anxiety or fear, have a strong gag reflex, have difficulty sitting still for extended periods, or require extensive dental treatment. However, candidacy depends on factors such as overall health, medical history, and the type of procedure needed.

Will I be unconscious during sedation dentistry?

The level of consciousness during sedation dentistry varies depending on the type of sedation used. With nitrous oxide and oral sedation, patients typically remain conscious but deeply relaxed. With IV sedation or general anesthesia, patients may be unconscious or in a state of deep sedation, depending on the dosage administered.

How long does the sedative effect last?

The duration of the sedative effect varies depending on the type and dosage of the medication used. Nitrous oxide wears off quickly once the gas is discontinued, while oral sedatives may have a longer-lasting effect. Patients receiving IV sedation or general anesthesia may experience grogginess or drowsiness for several hours after the procedure.

Are there any side effects or risks associated with sedation dentistry?

While sedation dentistry is generally safe, there are potential side effects and risks, including nausea, dizziness, headache, and allergic reactions. Rare complications may include respiratory depression, cardiovascular problems, or adverse drug interactions. Dentists carefully monitor patients throughout the procedure to minimize risks.

How should I prepare for sedation dentistry?

Your dentist will provide specific instructions on how to prepare for sedation dentistry, which may include fasting before the appointment, arranging for transportation to and from the dental office, and following any preoperative guidelines provided.

Is sedation dentistry covered by insurance?

Coverage for sedation dentistry varies depending on the type of sedation used, the reason for sedation, and individual insurance plans. Some dental insurance plans may cover sedation for certain procedures, while others may not. It’s advisable to check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage options.

As with any dental procedure, it’s crucial to discuss any concerns or questions you have about sedation dentistry with your dentist beforehand to ensure a comfortable and safe experience.

Guidelines Following Local Anesthetic

Can you explain how Local Anesthesia works, and what should I expect in terms of aftercare?


The nerves that provide sensation to the teeth can also provide sensation to the soft tissues, including the lips, the cheeks, and the tongue.

To work safely and comfortably on teeth and oral structures, dentists may need to temporarily shut down sensory function in certain parts of the mouth with local anesthetic. This is similar to how an electrician turns off a circuit breaker when working on an electrical appliance.

There is currently no way to immediately restore sensation to the area, although injectable medications are available to reduce the duration of numbness in some cases.
If certain precautions are not taken, problems can occur, ranging in severity from minor inconveniences such as impaired speech and drooling to more serious injuries.

For these reasons, while your lips, cheeks, and tongue are numb, do not consume hot foods or beverages, or eat foods that require chewing.
It is possible to bite and/or burn yourself and not feel it at all.
If so, there may be significant pain when the area regains sensation.
Do not pull or poke the numb areas to regain sensation.
The duration of numbness cannot be shortened by the patient.

The time it takes to regain feeling in your lip, tongue, or cheek depends on the type of anesthesia used and other factors.
In most cases, sensation will begin to return within an hour or two after the procedure.
Sometimes longer-acting numbing agents are used. Ask your dentist when you can expect the numbness to stop.

It is especially important to watch younger children who have been anesthetized to make sure they do not hurt themselves while remaining numb.