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Dental Sedation: What to Expect Before & After

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If you’ve ever avoided the dentist due to fear or discomfort, it’s essential to know that you’re not alone. Half of all dental patients have avoided the dentist in the past because of these concerns, but there are ways our team can help make your experience more comfortable so your teeth can get the care they need.

One of the most popular is dental sedation, a common technique dentists use to quell the discomfort you might experience during a dental appointment, whether it is anxiety, gagging, or general fidgeting.

But what is dental sedation? Who is suitable for this type of treatment? And what can you expect before, during, and after your appointment?

At Symmetry Dental, we pride ourselves on providing clear, easy-to-understand descriptions of our practices, so today, we’re going to look at what dental sedation is and how it can help support your oral care appointments.

For more detail on our sedation practices or to get help managing a current dental concern, please book an appointment with our team today!

What Is Dental Sedation & When Is It Appropriate?

Dental sedation is a service designed to help manage potential anxiety and discomfort you or a loved one might experience during their dental appointment.

In Alberta, dentists cannot provide sedation as part of their services unless they graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC) or Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) post-graduate dental program with sedative training. Alternatively, they could also obtain a letter from their dentistry program attesting to their sedation training.

Is Sedation Dentistry Right for You?

Sedatives can be delivered in various formats and may be suitable for children as young as 2 years old, depending on their overall health and the type of appointment they might have.

We may recommend sedation dentistry for:

  • Invasive or complex dental procedures
  • Managing dental anxiety
  • Helping those allergic to local anesthetic
  • Providing care to patients with mental or physical disabilities

Health & Safety Standards

Before we can recommend sedation dentistry, we must ensure you or your loved one is healthy enough for the service. Although sedation dentistry is safe for a wide range of age groups, we might not recommend it if you or your loved one:

  • Is pregnant
  • Has heart disease
  • Doesn’t satisfy the weight standards for sedation
  • Is too young or too old to be sedated safely

We will take a detailed look at your current and previous health history before recommending sedation dentistry.

A female dentist placing the nitrous oxide mask onto a young patient.

What Types of Sedation Do We Offer?

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide is inhaled through a mask before we begin your appointment. It can help manage discomfort, gagging, and fidgeting throughout your appointment. 

Symmetry Dental has not offer oral sedation.

What to Expect

Now let’s look at what you can expect before and after your sedation.

Of course, specific instructions may differ between patients, so please be sure to speak to our dental team for information relevant to your experience.

Before Sedation

Before we book your sedation treatment, we’ll look at your current and previous medical history to ensure it’s safe for you to begin the treatment. While most people can have dental sedatives safely, specific health concerns may affect your candidacy.

Before your appointment, we’ll recommend fasting for at least 6 to 8 hours and may ask you to stop consuming liquids for 2 hours before your appointment. We’ll also ask you to stop drinking alcohol for at least 24 hours before your appointment.

When you come in, please let us know if you’ve taken other medications before your appointment.

Please make sure you have alternative transportation options after your appointment. While the sedatives wear off over time, they may last longer in some individuals than others.

After Sedation

We’ll monitor your heart rate, skin colour, and respiratory rate throughout your appointment.

After nitrous oxide sedation, we may administer oxygen for about 5 minutes to help you recover. One of our team members will continuously observe your recovery and make sure you reach an objective level of pre-sedation consciousness before you can leave.

Book Your Appointment Today

Whether you’re looking for help managing your dental anxiety or if you struggle with discomfort during more invasive dental procedures, please speak to our team to see if sedation dentistry is right for you. Book your appointment today at Symmetry Dental if you’re ready to get help managing your oral health and achieving the crisp, pearly-white smile you’ve always wanted.

Dr. Saleema Adatia, Calgary dentist

Written by Dr. Saleema Adatia

Dr. Saleema Adatia earned her Doctorate of Dental Medicine (DMD) from Tufts University in 2006. Since then, she’s been committed to serving her patients’ needs with the utmost passion. Dr. Adatia has owned and operated Symmetry Dental since 2013 and has integrated high-quality services with friendly care into the philosophy of the practice.

With a goal of providing the best patient care possible, Dr. Adatia ensures that her practice stays up to date with the latest dental technologies and techniques. Her personal passion for dentistry stems from a desire to create a positive impact on each patient’s quality of life. Whether that means treating people’s pain or restoring function and beauty to their smiles, the goal is always the same: to help make patient’s lives just a little bit better by working together in harmony.

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