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Dentists are trained in providing sedation for patients when undergoing dental procedures requiring some sort of anesthesia. The American Dental Association (ADA) has set guidelines that he must follow before administering the various types of sedation.


If you are uncomfortable with being sedated or have anxiety in the dentist’s chair, simply relax and feel empowered to question your dentist’s experience with the specific sedation approaches recommended. It is important to find out whether or not he adheres to ADA guidelines and if he has a state permit.


ADA Recommendations for control of pain and anxiety:


-For the relief of minor discomfort, OTC (over-the-counter) medications are the first line of defense–analgesics such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen and aspirin.


-Injectable drugs that numb the specific area (lidocaine) can be administered locally via a needle or by topical surface agents are the next level of pain relief.


-Oral anti-anxiety drugs like nitrous oxide (laughing gas) at the typical dosage of intake provide sedation above the previous level.


-For those patients who need a more moderate form of sedation due to high anxiety or a more complicated dental procedure may receive higher doses of nitrous oxide or even intravenous administration. For this level of discomfort relief, a dentist must have 60 hours of training including CPR certification, a course in emergency management, and have been monitored by professionals while performing at least 20 IV infusions of patients.


-General anesthesia is deep sedation only for patients who are getting extensive surgery and/or display an inability to cooperate if awake. In these cases the ADA requires the practitioner to have completed a residency in anesthesiology for dentistry.


If you’re at all concerned about pain or anxiety management for dental visits, call Dr. Kevin Scott for more information. Please contact Sterling Ridge Dental Center to make an appointment at: 281-363-3308, or come by our office in The Woodlands, Texas.