Sleep & Sedation Dentistry in St. Catharines

Sleep & Sedation Dentistry: What Is It?

Sedation dentistry in St. Catharines is a commonly asked for and prescribed service for our patients. The term is used to describe a method of managing a patient’s pain and anxiety while they visit the dentist. It allows patients to relax throughout their visit but still allows them to be awake enough so they can respond to verbal commands or physical stimulation.
Sedation dentistry is used to sedate patients but keep them awake, while sleep dentistry is used when a more intensive or invasive procedure is required, such as is often the case with dental surgery or other treatments that take a long time, and a patient is better off asleep.
While similar, sedation and sleep dentistry differ in that sedation dentistry causes you to feel drowsy, sleepy and you won’t remember most of the procedure – but you will be awake and conscious throughout.

How Does Sleep & Sedation Dentistry Work?

Most types of sedation or sleep dentistry require a consultation with your dental professional before being administered. This is to make sure you are familiar with the procedure, are aware of your options and that your dentist understands your medical background. There are typically three types of sedation dentistry available for patients.

Inhaled Sedation

The most common form of inhaled sedation is nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and works well in conjunction with a local anesthetic for pain. Nitrous oxide helps to relax and comfort patients but keep them awake, in control and able to communicate. Laughing gas sedation is often used with patients suffering from anxiety and in pediatric dentistry.

Oral Sedation

Your St. Catharines dentist may choose to prescribe oral sedation to help you relax and be comfortable during your appointment. This sedation will be in the form of a pill that must be taken prior to your appointment to ensure it is working correctly by the time your treatment begins. We use oral sedation for patients who do not wish intravenous sedation or nitrous oxide. It is often combined with a local anesthetic for pain.

Intravenous (IV) Sedation

IV sedation generally provides the deepest and most precise level of sedation because the sedative is administered directly into the blood stream via intravenous injection. This form of sedation will likely cause feelings of drowsiness and relaxation in small doses and will put patients to sleep in larger amounts. It is required that you have a trusted person accompany you to your appointment if intravenous sedation is required. Don’t worry, you will have ample time to recover from the sedative effects before you leave our St. Catharines office with your companion.

Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?

Yes! Sleep and sedation dentistry is commonly used in modern dentistry and has been thoroughly researched. If you are undergoing a sedation dentistry procedure, you will be monitored throughout your procedure by a dental anesthesiologist for your safety. Your oxygen saturation levels, hear rate, blood pressure, EKG and breathing are all monitored to ensure your well-being. Our St. Catharines dental team have all been extensively trained and are certified to provide all forms of sedation dentistry to our patients.

Is Sedation Dentistry Right for You?

There are many reasons why your dentist may recommend sedation dentistry to you for your next appointment or procedure. It is often prescribed for patients suffering from dental anxiety to help them feel relaxed and comfortable in the dentist’s chair. Likewise, patients with sensitive gag reflexes or those requiring long appointments may also benefit. Likewise, patients who require extensive procedures will have sedation or sleep dentistry recommended.


For more information about sleep and sedation dentistry at our St. Catharines clinic location please visit our sedation dentistry page.

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