Sedation Dentistry


At Total Dental Care, we understand that dental work can cause anxiety. That’s why we offer a full line of sedation dentistry options to our patients in Germantown, MD. Call today at 240-813-9111 to schedule your appointment.

Man Asleep

Local Anesthesia


Local anesthesia is used prior to any procedure that could cause pain or discomfort. As its name suggests, local anesthesia is a topical or injected anesthetic that only affects the area where we will be working. You can safely drive home, but numbness and drooling may continue for a few hours after the procedure.


Nitrous Oxide


Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is a mild sedative inhaled through a mask over the nose. We can adjust the blend of nitrogen and oxygen and if you feel overwhelmed by the sensations, you can simply remove the mask and the sedation will quickly wear off. Most patients report a feeling of deep relaxation, lightheadedness, and a heavy sensation in the limbs. 


Conscious Oral Sedation


Conscious oral sedation involves taking a prescribed anti-anxiety medication before your visit. You will likely feel relaxed and may even fall asleep, but you will not be unconscious during your procedure. The effects can continue for a few hours, so you will need to arrange for someone to drive to your appointment and to drive you home after your appointment.


IV Sedation and General Anesthesia


IV sedation induces a sort of twilight sleep; you may feel loopy and out of it, and will likely sleep without completely losing consciousness. General anesthesia, in contrast, renders you unconscious for the duration of the procedure. Both are higher levels of sedation, appropriate only for patients with severe dental phobias, special needs, or who need extensive dental work. If you require this type of sedation, your dentist will provide you with detailed instructions prior to your procedure.

Questions? Call 240-813-9111 to learn more and schedule your appointment.


Frequently Asked Questions About Sedation Dentistry


Is dental sedation safe?


Most forms of dental sedation are extremely safe, with only mild side effects like nausea and lightheadedness. There are more risks involved with IV sedation and general anesthesia, but you can feel confident knowing that our practice abides by American Dental Association guidelines for the safe use of dental sedation. General anesthesia is only used in conjunction with a trained anesthesiologist.


Does sedation dentistry cost more?


Yes, sedation dentistry does cost more, as you or your insurance will need to cover the cost of the anesthesia or sedative that is used during your procedure. 


Do you feel pain with oral sedation?


Yes. Oral sedation helps you feel calm and relaxed during your procedure, but you will still feel pain. For this reason, we always combine oral sedation with a local anesthetic to ensure that you’re also comfortable and pain-free.


Should I be sedated for a tooth extraction?


The answer to this question depends on your comfort level. For a simple extraction, many patients choose to only use a local anesthetic to numb the area. If a tooth is fully or partially impacted or if you’re nervous about the procedure, you may opt for sedation in addition to local anesthesia.


Can you request to be put to sleep at the dentist?


If you are nervous about your dental procedure, please contact us prior to your appointment so we can discuss your concerns with you. Often, patients who feel they need general anesthesia do fine with a more mild sedative instead.