Sedation Dentistry in Calgary SW

We understand that going to the dentist probably isn’t on your list of favorite things to do.

After all, the fear of going to the dentist is quite common.

However, at Sierra Dental, we strive to reverse your perception of going to the dentist.

We believe that something as important and necessary as preserving your oral health and overall wellness should also be comfortable, and even enjoyable.

That’s why we offer multiple options for sedation dentistry to Calgary patients to help you feel relaxed and comfortable whatever procedure you may require: IV SedationOral Sedation and Nitrous Sedation.

We find that our guests appreciate having multiple alternatives so we give you the opportunity to choose the sedation option you’re most comfortable with.

How does sedation dentistry work?

Sedation dentistry is dental work performed when a patient is in a relaxed state under sedation. It can help to relieve the anxiety or emotional discomfort that some people feel when undergoing dental procedures.

If you have a phobia or fear about sitting in a dentist’s chair, the medicine used in dental sedation will relax you.

Sedation dentistry usually involves the following four stages:

Preparation by the patient

To undergo sedation, you will probably need someone to attend the appointment with you and drive you home afterwards. The other preparation instructions will depend on the type of sedation medicine you will take.

For nitrous oxide sedation, you should not eat for at least three hours before your appointment but water can be consumed.

Oral sedation is a little more restrictive: no solid foods should be consumed for six hours before your appointment, no liquids for three hours before and no alcohol for 24 hours before.

You will also need to check with your dentist about medications you can and cannot take before your treatment.

Taking the sedation medicine

If you choose oral sedation, you will take a mild sedative pill about an hour before your dental procedure. By the time of your treatment, you will feel completely relaxed but you will remain conscious and able to respond to your dentist’s instructions.

Nitrous oxide is a colourless and odourless gas that is inhaled through a small mask that fits over your nose. 

Both pills and gas will leave you in a relaxed state ready for your procedure.

The dental work is performed

When you are calm and relaxed, the dental work will be performed. You will be conscious throughout but feel no pain or discomfort.

Post-appointment recovery

You will recover from mild sedation quickly and be able to do most of the things you can normally do.

For stronger sedation, a friend or family member will need to drive you home and you may need to take the rest of the day off work. Follow your dentist’s advice closely.

How can dental sedation help you?

Dental sedation can help people overcome their fears with dentistry and maintain a routine of visiting the dentist and caring properly for their teeth.

The main benefits are as follows:

Improve oral health

Irrational fears of the dentist’s chair can cause neglect of the teeth, which can ultimately lead to severe dental problems that are both costly and painful to fix.

Eliminate the anxiety of visiting the dentist

Sedation dentistry helps you relax and get your dental work done without anxiety or delays. Knowing that you can relax in the dentist’s chair will make you more confident about arranging regular dental visits, which is ultimately better for your teeth and your health.

Reduced risk

Some people request general anesthesia for dental operations but many procedures can be performed more safely under sedation. Anesthesia comes with significant risks and the possibility of side effects with sedation are minor in comparison.

Problems are fixed faster

Without sedation, the anxiety that some patients feel tends to limit the amount of work that can be done in one sitting.

With sedation, more dental work may be done in one visit, meaning that fewer appointments are necessary and problems are fixed faster.

Are you a good candidate for dental sedation?

Dental sedation is a breakthrough option for many but it is not suitable for everyone.

For instance, if you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, sedation dentistry may not be an option, only certain types of sedation may be available or you may need to receive treatment beforehand or delay dental work:

  • Do you have high blood pressure or heart disease?
  • Do you have diabetes?
  • Do you have respiratory problems?
  • Do you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea or obesity?
  • Do you need to take special medication daily for a medical condition?
  • Do you have any known allergies?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • Do you smoke or drink excessively?

Remember that for procedures performed under dental sedation, you may have to stop taking medicines one day before. Always check with your healthcare provider and speak to your dentist before simply stopping the medication. Your age is also an important factor for your dental sedation options.

What medicines are used for dental sedation?

The drugs used for dental sedation can be administered orally in pill form or by gas (less commonly IV liquids may be used).

The gas used is normally nitrous oxide or “laughing gas”, helping you to relax within minutes.

Pills take a little longer to produce the sedative effect and to wear off but are generally considered more effective in creating a deeply relaxed state for treatment. Typically, we use Valium (Diazepam), Halcion (Triazolam), Sonata (Zaleplon), or Ativan (Lorazepam).

While preparation is generally required for most forms of sedation (e.g., not eating or drinking), some people can take nitrous oxide sedation at short notice. This may mean that you can request it at your appointment if you feel anxious about a particular procedure.

What types of procedures is dental sedation suitable for?

Technically, any dental procedure can be performed with a patient under sedation. Some patients even request nitrous oxide sedation for teeth cleaning or fillings.

However, dental sedation (especially in pill form) is more commonly associated with more complex procedures, such as wisdom tooth extractions, dental implants or veneers.

General anesthesia is generally inadvisable except in complex oral surgeries where patients prefer not to be conscious and need multiple procedures in one appointment or for children that need to be heavily sedated.

What is IV sedation/anesthesia?

With IV sedation, medication is administered using a small intravenous line that goes directly into the blood.

Strong sedation medication (or anesthesia) works rapidly in these cases and can be closely monitored by a licensed dentist or nurse but anesthesia is only used as a last resort because of the increased risks.

Does dental insurance cover IV sedation?

IV anesthesia/sedation may be included in your dental health insurance policy if the treatment is medically necessary.

Often, we can adjust treatment types to ensure that you are fully or partially covered by your policy. This will need to be discussed well in advance of treatment with your dentist. Bring your insurance details to the appointment so that our coordinators can check for you and design a treatment plan to suit your budget. A predetermination can be sent away to your insurance company to determine your coverage in advance.

IV dental sedation in Calgary SW

IV Sedation

Dental sedation through an IV (intravenous) method is particularly effective for inducing deep relaxation and calm states in typical dental patients. It produces little or no memory of the dental procedure afterward and is an increasingly popular choice for patients with anxiety.

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Oral Dental Sedation in Calgary SW

Oral Sedation

For some patients who experience debilitating fear prior to arrival at the dentist’s, oral sedation is a great option-your dentist will prescribe a medication prior to your visit. Oral sedation is a popular and effective option in sedation dentistry.

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Nitrous dental sedation in Calgary SW

Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas) Sedation

Nitrous Oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas” is a clear gas that is administered through a nasal mask. Because it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs, it helps calm nervous patients in a timely manner.

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We understand that you are busy and don’t always have time to visit a dentist for a routine checkup in the middle of your Monday. That’s why we offer extended hours from 7:00 AM to 8:30 PM Monday through Thursday.

We are also open all throughout the weekend. That’s right, we’re open every day of the week.

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To support our clients, we offer direct billing, predeterminations of treatments, and financial arrangements to all our patients to ensure smooth and easy payment transactions.

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We understand that dental services can be an unexpected expense. That’s why we offer flexible payment plans and options to suit our patients’ needs. Speak with one of our dental assistants to learn more.


At Sierra Dental, you will never struggle to find parking. Our clinics offer convenient parking options that are free of charge to our patients. It’s one more way we work to put a smile on your face.

Frequently Asked Questions

Conscious sedation is used on children that require multiple procedures at once. This type of sedation is also used on children with special needs because it allows them to relax while the dental work is being done. Conscious sedation will not put your child to sleep, although they may become sleepy. They will still be able to respond to voices and have full control over their protective resources. These include:

  • Gas (inhaled)
  • Pill or syrup (swallowed)
  • Shot (injected)
  • Intravenously (through the veins)

Oral sedation is another form of dental sedation used for children. This type of sedation is often used on children who require more help when it comes to sitting still. It is also used when a child is extremely anxious about their dental procedure.

General anesthesia will render your child unconscious so that the dentist can safely work on their mouth. Your child will fall into a deep sleep and will feel no pain. General anesthesia is administered in a hospital by an anesthesiologist and is required for larger surgeries like the removal of tonsils. Your child will be monitored when they are under general anesthesia to ensure that no risks are incurred.

Patients will have a number of reasons as to why they prefer to be sedated. Nonetheless, a dentist will be happy to offer one of the various forms of sedation to a patient as long as they deem it to be necessary.

  1. Fear of pain
  2. Fear of dentists
  3. Anxiety
  4. Sensitive teeth
  5. Restlessness
  6. Chronic jaw pain
  7. Does not respond well to other anesthetics

Sedation can be extremely beneficial to patients. When going to the dentist frightens you, the thought of pain scares you, or you can’t sit still long enough for a lengthier procedure, consider sedation dentistry.