Sleep/Sedation Dentistry

Rancho Mirage, CA and Palm Springs, CA

Sedation dentistry uses medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. It’s sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry,” although that’s not entirely accurate. Patients are usually awake with the exception of those who are under general anesthesia.

What Types Of Sedation Are Used In Dentistry?

Inhaled Minimal Sedation

You breathe nitrous oxide — otherwise known as “laughing gas” — combined with oxygen through a mask that’s placed over your nose. The gas helps you relax. Your dentist can control the amount of sedation you receive, and the gas tends to wear off quickly. This is the only form of sedation where you may be able to drive yourself home after the procedure.

Oral Sedation

Depending on the total dose given, oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate. For minimal sedation, you take a pill. Typically, the pill is Halcion, which is a member of the same drug family as Valium, and it’s usually taken about an hour before the procedure. The pill will make you drowsy, although you’ll still be awake. A larger dose may be given to produce moderate sedation.

This is the type of anesthesia most commonly associated with sedation dentistry. Some people become groggy enough from moderate oral sedation to actually fall asleep during the procedure. They usually can, though, be awakened with a gentle shake.

IV Moderate Sedation

You receive the sedative drug through a vein, so it goes to work more quickly. This method allows the dentist to continually adjust the level of sedation.


Deep Sedation and General Anesthesia

 You will get medications that will make you either almost unconscious or totally unconscious — deeply asleep — during the procedure. While you are under general anesthesia, you cannot easily be awakened until the effects of the anesthesia wear off or are reversed with medication.

Regardless of which type of sedation you receive, you’ll also typically need a local anesthetic — numbing medication at the site where the dentist is working in the mouth — to relieve pain if the procedure causes any discomfort.
Dr Aimee

Dr. Aimee Montgomery

IV Sedation Specialist

Dr. Montgomery received her Bachelors of Science from the University of California, Riverside in 2003. She then trained at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts. She earned her DMD in 2007 and practiced General Dentistry until 2016 when she entered a three-year Dental Anesthesiology residency.

She received training at Loma Linda VA Hospital, Loma Linda Medical Center and Riverside University Health System where she was required to complete rotations in hospital operating rooms, NORA (Non-Operating Room Anesthesia), Internal Medicine, Cardiology, and PACE (Pre-Operative Consultation and Education). She also received substantial exposure to the pediatric and special needs populations at Loma Linda University School of Dentistry, Special Care Dentistry.

She currently holds the position of Assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at Loma Linda School of Dentistry and also has a mobile dental anesthesia private practice.

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