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500 Sutter St., Suite 615, San Francisco, CA 94102

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415-362-5315

Creating Beautiful Smiles

Many people have questions about sleep dentistry and the sedation options available. Dr. Swati Agarwal and her team are committed to your comfort, and want you to understand all your options so that you can make the best decision for yourself. We have provided answers to some common questions on this page, and we encourage you to contact us at 415-362-5315 if you have further questions. We will be happy to schedule an appointment with our dentist and in-house anesthesiologist to help you determine which type of sedation is right for you.

What is sleep dentistry?

Sleep dentistry, or sedation dentistry, refers to the use of sedative medications to help patients feel more comfortable, relaxed and calm during their appointments. Sedation is often a solution for individuals who suffer from dental anxiety and fear, and works by helping patients feel more at ease. At our office, we have an in-house anesthesiologist to ensure that your sleep dentistry treatment is safe and effective.

Who can benefit from sleep dentistry?

Sleep dentistry is beneficial for anyone who:

  • Experiences fear or anxiety when visiting the dentist
  • Has had traumatic dental experiences
  • Has difficulty becoming numb
  • Gags easily
  • Has extremely sensitive teeth
  • Hates needles and shots
  • Struggles with the noises, smells and tastes associated with dental care
  • Has complex dental problems that require lengthy appointments

Will my treatment be painful if I receive sleep dentistry?

You should not experience pain or discomfort during your treatment. Our dentist may also use a local anesthetic to numb the treated area so that you remain comfortable as the effects of sedation wear off.

Will I remember anything about my treatment?

Possibly. While many forms of sedation dentistry are “conscious”, meaning that you are awake during the treatment, you may leave our office with little memory of the actual treatment, or feel as if you sleep through your treatment.

Is sleep dentistry safe?

Yes. sleep dentistry is usually very safe. Our dentist will review your medical history with you prior to your treatment to determine which sedation option is best for you, and our in-house anesthesiologist and team will monitor you closely throughout your entire treatment to avoid any complications.

What types of sleep dentistry are available?

We offer several types of sleep dentistry, including:

  • Nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
  • Oral sedation
  • IV sedation
  • General anesthetic

What does the “conscious sedation” mean?

Conscious sedation means that you will be awake during your treatment. You should be able to respond to any direction from our dentist, but the sensations will be at a distance, and you may have little or no memory of the treatment after it is completed.

What is oral sedation?

Oral sedation is a form of conscious sedation. It works through taking a prescribed medication shortly before your appointment. By the time you receive treatment, you should be completely relaxed. If you receive oral sedation, you will need to have someone to drive you home after your treatment is complete.

What is nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is a mild form of sedation that works via inhalation. A nose mask is placed on your face and provides the medication that helps you relax. Effects of nitrous oxide wear off very quickly, and you will be able to safely and legally drive yourself home after your appointment.

What is IV sedation?

IV (intravenous) sedation is a type of conscious sedation that provides medication directly into your bloodstream. This allows you to relax more quickly during your appointment. People who receive IV sedation need to have someone with them to drive them home afterwards.

What is hospital sedation?

Hospital sedation, often referred to as general anesthesia, is a type of sedation that puts you completely to sleep. This type of sedation is typically recommended when a patient’s oral health needs require general anesthesia in order to treat them without complication. Hospital sedation is a particularly good option for:

  • Children and individuals with special needs
  • Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions
  • Those who need extensive dental work performed in a single visit
  • Anyone who has extreme difficulty receiving care

Is sleep dentistry a good option for children?

Yes. Children often feel anxious or fearful when visiting the dentist, and sleep dentistry can help them feel more relaxed so that they can receive treatment. Our in-house anesthesiologist will help you find the sedation option that is best for your child and monitor them through their appointment for their safety.

Does sleep dentistry cure dental phobia?

Unfortunately, no. Sleep dentistry is a temporary solution that allows you to receive the care you need. Please contact our office for tips on how to manage dental anxiety and fear and work towards overcoming it. We are always happy to help you.