Sedation Dentistry

If you have anxiety about visiting the dentist or difficulties tolerating dental procedures, we offer sedation options to provide relaxation and comfort during treatment. Our cosmetic dentist Jeff Blackburn, DDS is specially trained in a variety of sedation dentistry techniques to help you overcome your fears and discomfort and calmly receive the dental treatments you need. Depending upon the severity of your anxiety, Dr. Blackburn will formulate a customized plan that can adequately address your specific needs.

If you are interested in learning more about how Dr. Blackburn can help you overcome your dental anxiety with sedation dentistry, contact South River Dentistry to schedule a consultation.

Schedule a consultation with Dr. Blackburn.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is an optional service that can complement your dental treatment to make the experience more relaxing. Dr. Blackburn understands that many of the patients he treats experience varying levels of anxiety about going to dentist. Whether you are feeling slightly apprehensive or have a history of dental phobia, sedation dentistry is designed to ease your fears with sedative administration that is tailored to your unique needs. Depending on the nature of your uneasiness, this technique can be helpful during dental implantation or full mouth rehabilitation, among many other procedures. By offering sedation dentistry, our practice hopes to extend a more pleasant and comfortable patient experience that minimizes the dread often associated with dental treatment.


It is not uncommon for individuals in need of dental work to avoid treatment out of fear or anxiety. Consequently, simple oral health concerns can be neglected and exacerbate into complicated issues that require more intensive treatment. With the option of sedation dentistry, patients can:

  • Receive the treatment they require while reducing discomfort and anxiety
  • Relax in the dentist’s chair regardless of high sensitivity levels or low pain thresholds
  • Restore the health of their teeth and gums before small problems worsen, potentially requiring more invasive and costly treatment
  • Undergo a complete smile makeover with enhanced comfort when compared to traditional methods

Sedation Options We Offer

Dr. Blackburn offers several different types of sedation to achieve various levels of relaxation. Whether you are undergoing a series of restorative procedures, an intensive periodontal treatment, or a cosmetic dentistry procedure, Dr. Blackburn will determine the best method for keeping you comfortable during treatment. The methods he offers include:

Nitrous Oxide

For reduction of mild to moderate anxiety, Dr. Blackburn commonly utilizes nitrous oxide gas. When administered, nitrous oxide is blended with oxygen and inhaled, producing a relaxing effect that can make necessary anesthetic injections and treatment much more tolerable. During the procedure, you will remain awake, yet you should be more comfortable, and you will be able to respond to commands and communication from Dr. Blackburn. Once treatment is complete, the effects of nitrous oxide fade quickly and you should be able to drive yourself home if you choose.

Oral Sedatives

A variety of oral sedative medications can be used to induce drowsiness, deep relaxation, and pain relief. Depending upon on your unique needs, anatomical dimensions, and the length of the procedure, Dr. Blackburn will administer the appropriate oral sedative to provide the appropriate level of sedation. During treatment you should remain awake but you will be very relaxed and may even fall into a light sleep. It is likely that you will not recall the procedure once it is complete. Dr. Blackburn is careful to thoroughly review your medical history and discuss any any medications you may be taking to avoid health complications, allergies, and/or prescription drug interactions. Due to lingering effects caused by oral sedation methods, it is required that you arrange a ride home after treatment.

Are There Any Side Effects From Sedation Dentistry?

The effects that accompany sedation dentistry differ depending on which technique was used during your procedure. You may experience light-headedness or a tingling feeling when nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is administered, but this typically dissipates soon after your mask is removed. If an oral sedative was ingested, side effects may include temporary dizziness, a heavy feeling in the head, or dry mouth. With some types of oral sedation, it is also possible for patients to have little or no memory of the procedure. Dr. Blackburn will inform you of what to expect with each sedation method in person.

Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?

While anesthesia will always present a risk, sedation has been safely used to increase patient comfort during dentistry procedures for many years. As long as a qualified dentist or dental anesthesiologist trained in administering sedation performs your procedure, sedation techniques are considered a safe and useful complement to treatment. If you are clinically obese or have obstructive sleep apnea, sedation may not be the best way to relieve your dental anxiety. Dr. Blackburn will help ensure you are a good candidate for sedation by going over your medical history and asking about any medications you might be taking. When utilized in accordance with guidelines set by the American Dental Association (ADA), sedation dentistry can be an effective way to help your dentist safely complete your dental procedure.

How Much Does Sedation Dentistry Cost?

The cost of supplementing your treatment with sedation dentistry will depend on how much anesthetic was utilized and the type of technique employed. Therefore, your expenses can be calculated once your needs are assessed in a consultation. In general, Dental Economics magazine approximates the fee for nitrous oxide at around $50, while the price of oral sedation can cost $245. These quotes do not necessarily reflect the rates at South River Dentistry, but they may give you an idea of your treatment options. To make comfortable dental treatment accessible to all of our patients, we accept payment through CareCredit®— a widely used healthcare lending company that allows qualified applicants to finance their expenses with a range of low- to no-interest payment plans. For additional information about sedation dentistry or our accepted modes of payment, please contact our practice to learn more.

Additional Sedation Dentistry FAQs

Which techniques offer conscious sedation dentistry?

Patients can remain conscious with both sedation options offered at South River Dentistry. Those who undergo oral sedation may fall into a temporary sleep, but the strength of sedation can be customized according to your needs. If you wish to remain conscious during treatment, please be sure to communicate your desires to Dr. Blackburn.

How do I know which sedation dentistry option is right for me?

The best sedation technique for you depends on the nature of your treatment and your unique levels of dental anxiety. After a discussion of your concerns and a thorough review of your medical history, you and Dr. Blackburn can determine the most ideal sedation method for your needs.

Should I arrange for someone to take me to and from the office?

If you receive nitrous oxide sedation, the effects of the gas should fade soon after your breathing mask is removed and there is usually no need to arrange a ride home. However, the effects of oral conscious sedation may take a few hours to wear off, so you will need to enlist a friend or loved one to drive you home after treatment.

Who administers the sedation?

Dr. Blackburn, our qualified cosmetic dentist, has been trained to administer sedation according to guidelines set forth by the ADA, making him well-qualified to perform sedation-assisted dental procedures. Dr. Blackburn has also earned his Fellowship certification with DOCS Education, a respected organization in post-graduate dental training.

Will I be monitored throughout the procedure?

Yes, Dr. Blackburn and/or one of our experienced dental hygienists will supervise you during treatment to help ensure you remain in stable condition. We will monitor your vital signs and oxygen levels, as well as have drugs on hand to counter the effects of the sedation if necessary. As a trained sedation dentist, Dr. Blackburn has the skills and experience necessary to act quickly in the rare event of complications.

To learn more about sedation dentistry, please contact South River Dentistry to speak to a member of our team or to schedule a consultation.

Contact Us Today