The Pros and Cons of Oral Sedation

General & Cosmetic Dentists Serving Omaha, Bellevue, Lincoln and Nearby Nebraska

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Posted: April 21, 2021

Woman taking an oral sedative before her dentist appointment Oral sedation is one of the three main types of sedation used in dentistry. This option is different from nitrous oxide and intravenous sedation — both of which are administered in-office — because it involves taking a pill before your appointment.

Many of our patients who struggle with dental anxiety, a strong gag reflex, or trouble sitting still find that oral sedation is a great solution. Here are some pros and cons to consider when deciding if it might be the right fit for you.

Pros of Oral Sedation

  • Oral sedation is the most comfortable sedation technique. It just requires you to swallow a pill. You’ll already feel relaxed by the time you arrive for your appointment.
  • Are you afraid of needles? If so, that might take intravenous sedation off the table. Oral sedation, however, is completely needle-free. 
  • Patients on a budget often choose oral sedation for its cost. Short of a stress ball or deep breathing techniques, it’s the most affordable way to relax in the dental chair.
  • Oral sedatives can be taken before virtually any dental visit. Rely on them to help you feel more relaxed for cleanings, x-rays, root canals, and a host of other dental services.
  • Depending on the total dose given, oral sedation can leave you with little to no memory of your dental procedure. You might appreciate this effect if you have dental anxiety or phobia.
  • There’s no reason to fret over the safety of oral sedation. Not only are oral sedatives regulated by the FDA, but dentists must complete additional training to prescribe them.
  • You’ll be able to listen and respond to our dentist’s instructions during your appointment. This is good for patients who prefer to retain a certain level of control.

Cons of Oral Sedation

  • Oral sedation drugs take around an hour to kick in. The effects can also stick around after your appointment is over. You’ll need to block off your schedule to accommodate this extra time.
  • It isn’t safe to drive after taking an oral sedative. Make sure that you can arrange a ride to and from our office.
  • Everyone metabolizes oral sedatives differently. It may take a few tries to find the perfect dose for you.

Let us Help You Choose a Sedation Option

Nothing matters more to our dentists than ensuring you have a safe and positive experience. We’ll happily work with you to find the best sedation option for your needs. Give us a call at one of our four office locations in Hillsborough: 402-307-6227, Village Pointe: 402-505-7474, Ralston Square: 402-307-6141, or Dundee: 402-307-6220.

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