3 Facts You Need to Know About Pain and Sedation Dentistry

For some people, being able to relax with sedation dentistry isn’t enough. They also want a pain-free experience. After all, the anticipation of pain is one of the top causes of dental anxiety and a common reason that millions of Americans delay or cancel appointments. So, what can you expect from sedation dentistry in terms of pain relief?

What Is In-Office Sedation Dentistry?

When you receive sedation dentistry, it is not general anesthesia, which is administered in a hospital or surgical center. You will receive medication to help you relax. But you will be conscious and able to respond to questions and instructions.

Sedation dentistry can be used for any dental procedure—dental cleanings and exams, root canal treatment, or restorative work.

What About the Pain?

Photo of female patient sitting and relaxing in a dental chair, for information on sedation dentistry from Plano female dentist, Dr. Miranda Lacy.

The purpose of sedation is to help you feel calm and relaxed. Sometimes, you will fall asleep.

  • Your sedation dentist will use a local anesthetic as the first step in pain control. Even before minimally invasive procedures, your dentist will numb your gums to ensure you receive a painless injection of a local anesthetic to block pain during your procedure.
  • Sedation dentistry decreases your sensitivity to pain.
  • Treatment is painless for most patients, and pain is limited or nonexistent afterward.
  • Your increased comfort and decreased sensitivity help your dentist accomplish more work in less time. Even if you don’t have dental anxiety, you can save time with sedation by being able to sit comfortably as your dentist accomplishes more work than usual.

Levels of Dental Sedation

Most state regulations require dentists to receive training and a permit to administer sedation. Staff members are trained to monitor your vital signs and handle any rare emergencies. Don’t hesitate to ask your dentist about training, experience, and the number of sedation cases he or she has completed.

Dentists offer varying levels of sedation based on their training, experience, licensure, and the patient’s needs. After discussing the causes and extent of your anxiety, your dentist will choose a level of sedation that is adequate for your procedure.


Nitrous oxide—or laughing gas—is the lowest level of sedation. It gives you tingling sensations or a sense of well-being. It’s useful in managing pain and dental anxiety. After you stop breathing it in, the effects quickly reverse.


You will receive oral conscious sedation in pill form. Your dentist will tell you what time to take it before you arrive at the dental office. Your anxiety about—and hypersensitivity to—the pain will fade. You’ll be drowsy, unable to drive, and relaxed before and after your dental procedure. You might not remember anything about your appointment.


I.V. sedation is administered through your veins. Not all dentists offer it, though. You’ll be drowsy and need transportation before and after your appointment.

Talk to Your Dentist About Sedation and Pain

Regardless of which type of sedation your dentist offers, it will decrease your sensitivity to pain. Speak with your dentist about cases like yours that he or she has handled and what you can expect.

Miranda Lacy, DDS sponsors this post. She is a Plano, TX female dentist who offers sedation. Dr. Lacy’s office is convenient to Addison, Allen, Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Frisco, Garland, Highland Park, and Little Elm.

3 Reasons Why Whitening Might Be Bad for Your Teeth

Whiter teeth can make your smile look more youthful and enhance your facial appearance. But in some cases, teeth whitening attempts can do more harm than good.

1. Gum Disease and Cavities

If your gums bleed or are inflamed or irritated, teeth whitening will make matters worse. The bleaching agent will further irritate your gums and cause pain. Gum disease needs to be treated and controlled before bleaching your teeth. Also, bleaching gel will penetrate through cavities and increase sensitivity in your teeth.

2. Challenges of Charcoal for Whitening Teeth

Researchers at the Creighton University School of Dentistry concluded that charcoal toothpaste is harsh on tooth enamel and can cause premature wearing and tooth decay. Laboratory students observed that charcoal toothpaste caused discoloration and made teeth look yellow or gray.

3. Hydrogen Peroxide Hype

Hydrogen peroxide can whiten teeth, but it can be harmful to your oral health. Some people are tempted to purchase the most potent solution available to brighten their teeth. Studies show that high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can burn your gums and oral tissue and break down tooth enamel. And if you ingest high-powered peroxide, it releases dangerous levels of oxygen in your bloodstream.

Long-term use of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (low strength) can kill beneficial microbes in your mouth and cause microorganisms, including candida albicans (yeast), to thrive.

What Are the Alternatives?

Photo of upper and lower teeth whitening trays in a blue case; for information on teeth alignment from the office Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Dentist-supervised whitening is safe

If in-office whitening from your dentist isn’t within your budget, consider the following alternatives:

  • Take-home whitening from your dentist is effective.
  • Keep your dental exam and cleaning appointments. Often, your dental hygienist can get tough surface stains off your teeth.
  • Limit things that cause tooth stains, including smoking and drinking coffee, soda, wine, and dark juices.
  • Ask your dentist how whitening treatment can be made affordable for you. Some dentists offer free whitening for patients who keep their exam and cleaning appointments.

This post is sponsored by Miranda Lacy, DDS of Plano, TX.