Sedation Dentistry (or Sleep Dentistry)

Sedation dentistry could help you achieve the dental care and attention needed if you have delayed visiting the dentist or having treatment because of a dental fear. Your overall wellbeing and health is of primary concern to us.

What is IV sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry (sleep dentistry) is a method of putting you into a light sleep during a dental procedure. It is a light sedation as opposed to an anaesthetic which would completely knock you out.

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Why would I use sedation dentistry?

For some people, a fear of the dentist or fear of dental procedures can prohibit them from even the most basic of dental care. They can avoid going to the dentist all together because of this fear. Sedation dentistry relaxes them adequately so that the dentist can do the required dental work, and the patient is anxiety free.

How is sedation dentistry administered?

It is administered in the dental chair by a qualified dental sedationist who will determine your suitability for sedation prior to administration.

What happens during sedation dentistry?

Whilst you are under sedation dentistry, you are conscious and can hear and follow instructions from the dentist. Many patients have no recollection of what happened during their visit, and talk about it being like a light sleep. The benefit for the patient is that there is no discomfort or anxiety for them during the dental visit.

What treatments are suitable for IV sedation dentistry?

There is no limitation to when sedation dentistry can be used. It is used to alleviate anxiety and help you cope better with your visit to the dentist. Its use is based on you the patient, not the treatment.

Sedation Dentistry is suitable for treatment of minor and major treatments.

Do I need to prepare for sedation dentistry?

We require that you don’t eat or drink anything for 6 hours before your appointment.

We understand that you may be feeling anxious about heading off to the dentist with a sedation dentistry appointment booked in. Our experience is that for many patients the first-time anxiety disappears after the initial visit and, for the next visit, patients come in smiling and ready for their in-chair treatment under sedation.

Will I feel pain during sedation dentistry?

You won’t feel any pain during your sedation dentistry treatment. The IV sedative starts working in a few minutes – this means your dentist can begin your procedure quickly, and with no pain.

What to expect after sedation dentistry

Once your appointment is over, and you are awake again, you will be required to stay in the practice for 45 mins so that we can monitor for any after effects of the sedation. Following treatment you might experience slight nausea, drowsiness, swelling, or bruising at the site of the injection. This is only temporary.

Legally, we cannot allow you to drive afterwards, or catch an Uber home so you will need somebody to drive and/or accompany you home.

You will be advised to not return to work for the day as it takes up to 24 hours for the sedative to leave the body.

Can anyone have sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is an intravenous administered sedative which requires a thorough medical assessment prior to use. Prior to booking in a sedation dentistry appointment, you will be completely assessed for suitability of the treatment.

A few exclusions to IV sedation treatment include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Over a certain weight
  • Drug & Alcohol addictions
  • Some prescribed medications.

If sedation dentistry is not suitable for you, our dentists will suggest alternatives to help you get the dental care that you need. Our top concern is your dental health administered in a safe and caring environment.

Sedation Dentistry vs General Anaesthetic?

Sedation Dentistry is a much lighter sleep that ‘going under’ a full general anaesthetic. Under a general you are completely in a deep sleep and non-responsive, whereas under sedation, you can hear and respond to the dentist, but it is as if you are falling into a light sleep.

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Sedation Dentistry vs General Anaesthetic Cost

Sedation Dentistry services are delivery by a qualified dental sedationist who will bill you direct for the services. Sedation Dentistry is a cheaper, more affordable option than General Anaesthetic, and the final cost will be determined by the length of treatment required and how long you will be sedated for.

Richmond Fine Dentistry is not involved in the costing process.

Do we offer Dentistry under General Anaesthetic?

Yes we do.

General Anaesthetic dentistry is also available upon request. We treat patients off-site at Novamed in Ringwood. Novamed is a dental practice set up with general anaesthetic equipment which we prefer over the alternative of working with general anaesthesia in our Richmond dental practice.  It’s our preference to treat patients offsite in a safe and established environment.

Can all dentists offer IV sedation in Australia?

In Australia, only a few dentists have earned the Dental Board of Australia accreditation in deep sleep sedation and general anaesthesia and therefore can legally use such complex sedation techniques. Richmond Fine Dentistry offer their dental patients this service via Dr Barry Creighton who comes into our Melbourne practice to administer the sedation. To find our more about this Dr Creighton and how he administers IV sedation at our Richmond dental suites visit our page on Dr Barry Creighton: Sedation Dentist.


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Disclaimer: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.