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Sedation Dentistry

Sedation Dentistry services offered in Sacramento, CA

If you experience dental anxiety or fear, sedation dentistry can help you relax and feel more comfortable during your appointments. At Sierra Oaks Dental, Peter Kim, DDS, and his team specialize in providing safe and effective sedation dentistry options for patients who may benefit from this treatment. Call the office to learn more about your options or schedule an appointment online today.

What is sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is a solution for patients who are afraid of the dentist or have time restraints and would like more efficient dentistry. Sedation dentists help patients feel as comfortable as possible using well-established and proven protocols with a variety of sedation medications administered orally and sublingually (under the tongue). These protocols can be customized for the patient’s individual emotional and physical needs.

Sedatives help relax patients by slowing the action of the central nervous system. People remain aware of their surroundings but are less responsive to external stimuli such as the sound of the drill or the smell of materials.

Sedation dentists have extensive knowledge of the science behind sedation and have met stringent continuing education requirements for the purpose of performing safe and effective sedation dentistry.



  1. Is it too late to fix my teeth?

The condition of your mouth is not an end. It’s a starting point. We’ve all experienced the shame and anxiety that can well up when you realize it’s been – ahem – a little longer than six months since your last cleaning. Or the moment you realize, slightly terrified, that one of your teeth is seemingly on its last leg. Sadly, for too many, the deterioration of oral health is not an incentive to visit the dentist – but rather, a deterrent. Ironic? Yeah. Cool? Not with us. Which is why we must stress the point that no matter how long it’s been since your last visit to the dentist – it’s never too late to turn things around. And SedationCare.com, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive website for finding dental sedation providers near you, is an excellent starting point.

  1. Will it hurt?

No. If you opt for sedation, you’ll be treated by trained professionals who can expertly gauge and calibrate the medication you receive based on your specific health profile. You can rest assured you will feel absolutely no discomfort during your dentistry.

  1. Will I be left alone at any point?

Never. From the moment you pick up the phone to inquire about a sedation appointment, to the moment you leave the practice, you will never be alone. A sedation dentistry team will always be present to attend to any of your needs or concerns. We’re here for your emotional support as you make the choice to proceed. We’ll ensure you’re comfortable – after all – that’s our #1 priority. And of course, we’ll provide monitoring and evaluation for your safety. We believe the strongest relationships are built through patient education. And that’s precisely what we provide.

  1. What if I have a medical condition? Will I still be able to use sedation dentistry?

Some people play fast and loose with the word expert. We are not those people. To become a sedation dentist, one must meet stringent requirements. Or to put it plainly, be remarkable. Sedation dentistry is not just about providing medication. It is about having a nuanced and powerful understanding of the science behind sedation. Many sedation dentists put in dozens – if not hundreds – of hours of continuing education to study sedation and understand precisely how different medications affect different people. And most importantly, these dentists will know how to determine and create a treatment plan that works best for you. Not Bob or Jill. You. In the event that the particular sedation dentist you select does not have the resources to treat you, they will find someone who CAN treat you.

  1. What about money? How much does sedation cost?

The cost of sedation varies depending on the level of sedation, the expertise, and the demographic factors. However, sedation practices are well-trained in helping patients navigate unique financial situations: what treatment you’ll need, and what options will make a difference when it comes to making your appointment(s) as affordable as possible.

  1. Will I be aware of my surroundings? Will I be in control?

Ah, control. We all find our own methods of controlling our environment to keep anxiety at bay. Some of us meticulously clean our teacup collection. Some walk the dog. And some of us simply want to receive dental treatment without feeling like we’re stranded on another planet.

And the prospect of being…well…NOT in control may be daunting to say the least.

However, sedation dentistry was developed with patient comfort in mind. Therefore you’ll always be conscious, responsive, and able to tell your dentist and team what you need. Sedation dentistry is described by many patients as being much like a pleasant dream. But a dream in which you have control over what you say and do.

  1. How long will the medication last?

Typically, the medication will be entirely worn off by the morning following your treatment. It is important to have a companion escort you home – and that both of you stay home until the following morning. And we all know what that means: you’ll have the opportunity to play couch-potato, guilt-free, for the remainder of the day.

Of course, the length of the medication will vary based on how much is administered in the first place, and how quickly the patient metabolizes it.

  1. Will sedation help me save time?

Yes. Using sedation often saves you time, and in turn, money. More dentistry can be completed in fewer appointments. Take, for example, patient A and patient B: both needed the exact same treatments: periodontal therapy (deep cleaning), six fillings, and a crown on a broken tooth. Patient A chose to skip sedation, Patient B chose to use sedation.

  1. Is sedation dentistry safe?

Yes. Sedation dentists are trained professionals who have completed continuing education and met stringent requirements to administer sedation. They have an extensive knowledge of the science behind sedation and understand the nuance and customization each unique treatment plan requires. Sedation dentists are just as committed to safety as they are to the comfort of their patients. They do not focus on a single aspect of wellbeing, but rather, make it their top priority to ensure their patients are wholly safe, comfortable and happy – no matter what.

  1. What are the different types of sedation dentistry?

There are multiple types of sedation dentistry, but the most popular techniques at Sierra Oaks Dental are:

Nitrous oxide.

 Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a colorless, odorless gas that helps you relax during dental treatments. It’s mixed with oxygen and administered through a small mask that the team places over your nose. Once you inhale the gas, it takes effect within seconds.  Nitrous oxide is one of the safest forms of sedation for children and adults. It wears off shortly after you remove the mask, so you can resume your normal activities immediately. It’s the only type of sedation that allows you to drive yourself home after taking it. 

Oral conscious sedation

Oral conscious sedation involves taking a pill about one hour before your procedure. The medication allows for deep relaxation to take your mind off of your dental work. While you’re conscious, you may not be aware of your surroundings.  Some people slip in and out of sleep during oral conscious sedation, so you can complete extensive dental work even if you feel uncomfortable visiting the dentist. If you opt for oral conscious sedation, you must coordinate a ride home with a trusted friend or relative.

IV Sedation

IV sedation provides patients with a deeper state of relaxation during dental treatment. With IV sedation, you can expect to experience minimal awareness of your surroundings and little to no memory of your procedure. This is a common method of sedation for patients with severe dental phobia.