The term “sedation dentistry” refers to various methods used to relax patients during dental treatments. More intensive sedation methods, such as general anesthesia, are typically reserved for surgeries. However, several sedation options exist to calm patients’ nerves during less invasive procedures, dental exams and cleanings. 

The techniques vary in strength, but in most cases, they are so effective that patients may have little to no memory of the procedure. Each sedation dentistry method used at Rutland Dental Centre has been proven to be safe, and our dentists have used them successfully throughout their careers.

Depending on the dental procedure and your feedback from your dental consultation, one of the following three sedation dentistry methods may be a good fit for you:

Nitrous Oxide Sedation, also known as laughing gas, is a minimal sedative that successfully reduces anxiety and pain during dental treatment. Nitrous oxide is colourless, odourless, mixed with oxygen, and inhaled through a mask placed over your nose. You can breathe normally, and the impacts of the laughing gas should start within minutes. 

Despite its name, laughing gas does not always make you laugh but it does calm your nervous system, making you feel less inhibited. You may feel dizzy, tingling, or heavy in your arms or legs and will feel relaxed throughout the procedure. You might even laugh a few times. And if you do, we love a good chuckle too! And will giggle along with you.


Nitrous oxide is a safe and effective type of sedation. The laughing gas works quickly, and the effects fade off almost immediately by inhaling pure oxygen through a mask at completion of your procedure. Nitrous oxide does not put you to sleep, so you can still hear and reply to any instructions from the dentist.

Is Nitrous Oxide Sedation A Good Option For You?

Nitrous oxide is recommended for the following:

  • Frightened, nervous, or non-compliant patients.

  • Patients with unique healthcare requirements.

  • Patients who do not respond to specific anaesthetics.

  • Younger children who require extensive dental operations.

While nitrous oxide is an effective and safe sedative, it may not be your best option. Some considerations for using laughing gas are listed below, but we recommend that you to speak to our dentists regarding the following: 

  • A history of respiratory disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • A deficiency of vitamin B-12.
  • Substance abuse history.
  • Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency.
  • A history of mental health issues.


Oral Conscious Sedation involves your dentist administering sedative medication (typically in pill form) almost an hour before your procedure. Dentists commonly use Triazolam (Halcion®), a benzodiazepine derivative. However, your dentist may also use other options, such as Lorazepam (Ativan®).

Oral sedation causes drowsiness and may cause you to fall asleep. You will, however, be able to speak with your dentist if necessary. Because oral sedation does not wear off as quickly as nitrous oxide, plus momentarily impairs your memory and motor skills, you will require the assistance of a friend or family member to get you home safely following your procedure.



The oral sedation procedure in dentistry helps make patients feel comfortable and boost patient compliance. It is particularly beneficial in patients with epilepsy, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other similar illnesses.


Is Oral Conscious Sedation A Good Option For You?

Although a few individuals do not enjoy dentist visits, most can tolerate the treatments and routine cleanings. If your fears about dental procedures are causing you to avoid going to the dentist, remember that there are choices available to make your dental session more comfortable. A small pill is all that may be required to keep you relaxed during your visit and make your stay with us more enjoyable. You may be a good candidate for Oral Conscious Sedation if:

  • You're frightened of visiting the dentist.
  • Dental procedures are usually excruciatingly uncomfortable for you.
  • You are bothered by the office's scents and sounds.
  • You have a strong gag reaction.
  • You want to feel relaxed but not entirely unconscious.
  • You intend to have a lengthy procedure.


Intravenous (IV) Conscious Sedation is administering an anti-anxiety medication through the bloodstream during dental procedures. IV sedation dentistry is also known as 'twilight' or 'sleep' dentistry. You may or may not entirely fall asleep. Still, the sedative helps you to relax and feel at ease so profoundly that it significantly decreases your awareness of your surroundings, including what the dentist may be doing to your mouth. You will still be able to respond to verbal orders, even if we must gently tap you to wake up. In contrast to other inhaled sedation forms (such as nitrous oxide) or those given orally, the dentist administers the sedation intravenously.

The most common group of medicines for IV sedation in the dental profession are benzodiazepines, which include Diazepam (Valium), Lorazepam (Ativan), and Midazolam (Versed). 



IV sedation has the following advantages: 

  • It begins acting rapidly, and you experience less pain during the treatment.
  • The dentist can easily alter the dosage based on your vitals.
  • It causes temporary amnesia, so you likely won't remember anything about the surgery when you wake up.
  • It enables you to be compliant for longer, allowing your dentist to do various procedures in a single appointment.


Is IV Conscious Sedation A Good Option For You?

Before you are scheduled for IV sedation, your dentist will perform a health evaluation and review your medical history and medication use. Patients who are elderly or have significant medical concerns may need to see their primary care physician or a medical specialist first. Typically, appropriate candidates for IV sedation are:

  • Those who require more invasive dental procedures.

  • Individuals with a powerful gag reflex.

  • Those who need more extensive or multiple procedures in one appointment.

This level of sedation requires significant advanced training, and both Dr. Mike Stearns and Dr. Priya Stearns hold moderate (IV) conscious sedation certification in the province of British Columbia.


We understand that some individuals are so nervous or fearful of going to the dentist, they don’t go at all. This can have serious effects on your oral health, as well as keep you from having better-looking teeth. We urge you to speak to our team of dental professionals about our sedation techniques. With these sedation dentistry options available at our Kelowna dental clinic, the time you spend with us can be comfortable, relaxing, and yes, dare we say, even pleasant!







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  5. Yoon. Current Trends In Intravenous Sedative Drugs For Dental Procedures. Retrieved from

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