Sedation Dentistry in Calgary

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“I personally want to thank the Macleod Dental Team for helping me overcome my dentist anxiety and go through this process flawlessly. Great place for all your dental needs and by far the best dental experience I ever had! Thank you, guys!”

— Alice Sawatsky, ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ View Reviews

Do you have dental anxiety?

Do you feel tense and anxious when you think about visiting a dental clinic? Would you rather suffer a toothache than take one step toward the dentist’s chair? It’s normal for people to be afraid of the dentist – more than they would care to admit! If you deal with dental anxiety, dental sedation may be a great option for you.

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What is sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry helps put patients in a relaxed state so that they feel less anxiety during their procedure. The anesthetic used with sedation dentistry helps lower a patient’s awareness, allowing them to slip into a comfortable state. Sedation dentistry can be used for a range of dental treatments, from invasive procedures to simple teeth cleaning.

How does sedation dentistry work?

Here’s what to expect if you elect for optional sedation dentistry:


Do not eat or drink anything 6 hours prior to your appointment (unless otherwise directed).

Keep in mind that your health history can affect your recovery, especially for people who have diabetes and smokers. Therefore, it is important to let us know about any medical conditions you have.


Sedatives are given in a variety of ways, including orally or intravenously. The type of sedative we use depends on the treatment being performed, your unique medical condition, and any other medication(s) you are currently taking. Benzodiazepines are the most commonly prescribed sedatives.


After receiving the sedative, you should begin to feel relaxed. However, you will remain alert and responsive enough to answer questions. We carefully monitor you throughout your entire visit to ensure all your physiological and pharmacological needs are met. At the end of the day, the goal is to keep you safe while reducing anxiety and discomfort.


Post-treatment, you may feel no residual discomfort or side effects caused by the sedative. Although, in some cases, you may not remember your time in the dental chair. If you opt for sedation dentistry, you must be driven and accompanied by a responsible adult to and from your appointment. In addition, we do recommend that you take the rest of the day off work to recuperate. Do not drive or operate any heavy machinery for at least 24 hours. Lastly, it’s important to remember to stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids.

Do you suffer from dental anxiety?

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Benefits Of Sedation Dentistry

Less Anxiety During The Procedure

Anxiety can keep people from getting the dental procedures they need to keep their teeth and mouth healthy. Simply knowing that they will be given a sedative can make patients more willing to come to the dentist in the first place.

Sedation dentistry makes patients much more comfortable during their visit because the sedative, whether it is nitrous oxide (laughing gas), a benzodiazepine, or general anesthesia, will greatly decrease the body’s fear response.

Minimal Memory Of The Procedure Afterwards

A side effect of sedation is that memory is impaired during administration, so dental patients being treated with a sedative will have minimal memory of the procedure after it’s over. Not having to relive a situation that causes anxiety helps to ensure that patients will return for further appointment

What are the different types of sedation you offer?

The type of medication used will depend on the level of relaxation you need. Our dental sedatives range from nitrous oxide (also known as happy/laughing gas) or oral sedatives (a medication taken by mouth just before your appointment) to general sedation that’s administered via an intravenous (IV) drip only for extractions.

To select the best sedation dentistry option, we’ll want to consider things such as your overall health, any underlying medical issues, age, and the type of treatment that’s planned. Nitrous oxide is great for anyone with anxiety during a routine cleaning, but it can also provide an overall calming effect for someone who is getting a root canal or dental implants.

Sedatives can be taken by mouth, inhaled through the nose, or delivered intravenously. Each type works differently, depending on your needs and how deeply sedated or relaxed you want to feel throughout your appointment.

Who is a good candidate for dental sedation?

Sedation dentistry is ideal for patients who:

  1. Experience nervousness or anxiety when visiting the dentist
  2. Have a low pain threshold
  3. Experience severe tooth sensitivity
  4. Require a lot of dental work
  5. Struggle to become (and stay) numb from local anesthetics

Our number one goal is to help you maintain the best oral health possible. Thanks to sedation dentistry, you no longer have to postpone or avoid treatments due to dental phobias or anxiety!

Are you avoiding the dentist out of fear?

To learn more about sedation dentistry, contact us anytime at 403-253-1248, or email us at

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Oral sedation will usually kick in within a half-hour, this is when you’ll start to feel calm and/or very tired. Optimal sedation kicks in about an hour after the medication is taken.

Our dentists have about a 2-3 hour window to complete all necessary treatments when an individual takes oral sedation medication. After this window is over, the sedative will start to slowly wear off. However, it takes anywhere from 4-5 hours to no longer feel sleepy. You should plan to stay at home for the rest of the day, as there will likely be some groggy side-effects and mild amnesia. That’s right — you probably won’t remember much of anything about your dental appointment!

Calgary dental sedation options may wear off immediately or last up to a few hours. The most commonly used is nitrous oxide (happy gas) which wears off as soon as the procedure is completed, so adults can safely drive themselves back home without any lingering side-effects or drowsiness. Since nitrous oxide is an inhaled sedative, it’s quickly reversible as soon as it’s shut off!

However, oral sedation and IV sedation do lead to extended drowsiness. IV sedation can be turned off immediately, but the drug can still take a few hours to completely work its way out of the system. With oral sedation (pill or liquid by mouth), it may be anywhere from 3-6 hours before it starts wearing off. In either case, you wouldn’t want to drive or operate heavy machinery until the next day. The good news is that you can still sit up, watch TV, or talk with other people within the first hour or two of the sedative wearing off. In reality, you will probably rather take a nap!

Absolutely, you can ask for dental sedation! Dental sedation helps our patients overcome anxiety that might otherwise prevent them from getting the dental treatment they need. By simplifying the process, you’re better able to relax and catch up on any necessary procedures. Usually, we can combine services into fewer appointments when dental sedation is involved.

Absolutely, you can ask for dental sedation! Dental sedation helps our patients overcome anxiety that might otherwise prevent them from getting the dental treatment they need. By simplifying the process, you’re better able to relax and catch up on any necessary procedures. Usually, we can combine services into fewer appointments when dental sedation is involved.

It’s never a problem to ask our sedation dentist in Calgary to add the service onto your scheduled appointment. In fact, lighter sedation such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas) can be incorporated into practically any visit, even cleanings and checkups! The effects wear off quickly and you won’t even need to change your daily schedule. However, deeper sedatives and anesthesia such as oral sedation and IV medication will need to be well planned out in advance.

If you need a particular treatment but you’re hesitant about sitting through it, ask our Calgary dentist which types of sedation are available for your procedure. We’ll be more than happy to discuss your options with you — after all, we want you to feel as comfortable as possible!

If you need a particular treatment but you’re hesitant about sitting through it, ask our Calgary dentist which types of sedation are available for your procedure. We’ll be more than happy to discuss your options with you — after all, we want you to feel as comfortable as possible!

Aside from “general” anesthesia which makes your entire body relaxed and sleepy, dental “local” anesthesia is a numbing medication that only affects the immediate area around where the medication was injected.

The most common side effect of local dental anesthetic is the prolonged numbness after it’s administered. That area of your mouth and face may feel numb or “fat” for 3-5 hours or more after the anesthesia is administered. It’s very important to make sure you’re not chewing or biting your mouth in the meantime, otherwise, you could literally create open wounds in your lips, tongue, and cheek that you won’t notice until the numbing medication wears off.

Local anesthetic works by targeting the nerves that serve specific areas of your mouth. However, if it is not injected properly there is the risk of complications such as nerve damage or partial muscular paralysis. Both of these conditions are extremely rare, but it is important to know that they are always a risk any time local dental anesthesia is used.

In extremely rare situations, local dental anesthetic has been linked with nerve damage and partial paralysis (of the facial muscles). However, as long as local anesthesia is administered by a trained and licensed dental professional, the side-effects can be kept to a minimum.

If nerve damage is caused, it may take anywhere from days, weeks, months, or years to improve. Or, it might not at all! Although the risk is extremely low, it’s something that every dental patient should be made aware of.

The truth is the risk of possible nerve damage caused by local anesthetic is so low that the benefits of your necessary dental treatment outweigh the potential side-effects. Otherwise, untreated dental infections such as cavities, periodontal disease, and abscessed teeth can have a far greater detrimental impact on your oral and overall health.

If you’ve had a bad experience with dental anesthesia in the past, be sure to let our Calgary dentist know. It might be possible to use a different type of local anesthetic or numbing process to achieve the same level of comfort without aggravating a situation that already exists.

Dental sedation helps your overall body and mind to relax so that you can feel comfortable while you’re sitting through a routine dental treatment; however, it doesn’t completely numb you to pain. In most cases, the only thing you’ll feel during a sedation dentistry visit is a bit of pressure. If for any reason you do feel pain, let us know and we can add additional local anesthetic to that area of your mouth!

To ensure that you’re completely comfortable during a sedation appointment, our Calgary dentist will still administer local dental anesthetic to completely numb the tooth that we’re working on. The great thing here is that if you tend to get nervous about having injections, the sedative will usually keep you from caring very much or being aware of it at all.

In some cases, yes. General anesthesia can be administered inside of our Calgary dentist office or at a nearby hospital as long as there are visiting privileges set in place. Any time you get general anesthesia, your provider must be licensed to administer that type of medication. Not every dentist is, but some are.

Why would you want to get general anesthesia at the dentist? Oral surgery cases such as wisdom tooth removal, dental implant placement, or extensive full mouth reconstruction are just a few reasons why. When you need more involved procedures or lengthier treatments and prefer to “tune everything out” so that it can be completed in one visit, general anesthetic is a wonderful solution!

General anesthesia for dental procedures is typically reserved on a case-by-case basis. It’s also useful for individuals with special needs who may not be able to sit through any necessary treatments.

Lidocaine is the most commonly used local anesthetic by dentists that works quicker and better than Novocain (a traditional type of local anesthetic). Lidocaine comes in varying solutions and strengths.

There are also other blends of anesthetic made for individuals who might be sensitive to epinephrine (e.g. pregnant women or people with heart problems,) such as Septocaine.

As you might notice, each of these medications still come from the same drug family as “-caine” is referenced in their names. So even though they are different from one another, they’re still similar in how they work and the effectiveness of each. It’s just that so much research has been done on Novocain and Lidocaine, that there are different formulas of the medication available to best fit the needs of the patient’s situation. In most cases, our Calgary dentist will use Lidocaine; but we do keep other anesthetics in stock for when the situation warrants them.

Yes! Laughing gas – or nitrous oxide sedation – is a gentle and safe analgesic that is useful for practically any dental procedure. It’s safe for all ages, as long as you’re healthy.

The best thing about laughing gas is that it’s convenient enough to add onto your visit, even if you weren’t expecting to need dental sedation. So, if you’re starting to feel a little nervous or having a hard time getting comfortable, then our Calgary dentist can easily start the nitrous oxide at any time. It only takes a few minutes to start working and can be easily adjusted to fit your needs.

Once your visit is complete, the laughing gas is turned off and you’ll breathe pure oxygen for about five minutes, as the sedative leaves your respiratory system. In a matter of moments, you’ll start to feel yourself again. There aren’t any lingering side effects such as drowsiness or tiredness, so you’ll be able to drive yourself back home as soon as the procedure is over.

If anxiety is keeping you from booking that treatment you need, be sure to ask our dentist about laughing gas!

Generally, yes, dental sedation is safe. However, certain medications and/or conditions can affect you negatively while sedated. Our doctors will assess if sedation will be safe for you as part of your consultation.

About The Caring Dentists of Macleod Trail Dental

Our dentists use their expertise in general and cosmetic dentistry to provide the best, most caring care possible. They love answering dental questions and finding the right solutions for all of our patients. If you need a new dentist in SW Calgary that you can trust, Macleod Trail Dental is here to help!

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