Sedation Dentistry Miami, FL

Unlike general anesthesia where a patient is completely unconscious, asleep, and unable to respond, patients under Conscious Sedation, are able to respond to commands and breath on their own. Gallardo Periodontal and Implant Dentistry located in Miami, FL, have specialized training and special certification in sedation dentistry.

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Sedation Dentistry Benefits

Sedation dentistry involves the use of medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. Understanding the benefits of sedation dentistry can alleviate anxiety and fear, making dental visits more comfortable and stress-free.
Sedation Dentistry refers to the way a dentist manage people
Sedation Dentistry refers to the way a dentist manage people

What is Sedation Dentistry?

In dentistry, sedation refers to the use of medication to reduce anxiety and pain associated with dental procedures. This allows the patient to relax and feel comfortable while being treated. There are several types of sedatives, including nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral conscious sedation (OCS) and intravenous sedation (IV).

Levels of sedation dentistry

There are many types of sedation dentistry, some of the most common include conscious sedation (where the patient remains awake), general anesthesia (also called Deep Sedation, the patient is asleep throughout the procedure) and intravenous sedation (IV).

Conscious sedation is often used when a patient needs to have a tooth extracted, fillings placed, or a root canal performed. General anesthesia is typically administered when a patient requires extensive work on multiple teeth, including crownsbridges, implants, veneers, etc. IV sedation is usually used when a patient needs treatment on just one tooth.

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Sedation Dentistry Candidates

Sedation Dentistry refers to the way a dentist manages people who have:

  • High fear of needles or going to the dentist
  • Traumatic dental experiences
  • Difficulty getting numb
  • Significant gag reflex
  • Very sensitive teeth
  • Complex dental problems
  • Limited time to complete dental care

Patients in Miami who:

  • Are bothered by the noises, smells and taste associated with dental care/oral health
  • Are afraid or embarrassed about their teeth

What can I expect from Sedation Dentistry?

Dentists use sedatives to help patients relax when receiving dental services. Sedation dentistry can be used for minor dental work, including fillings, crowns, bridges, root canal therapy, gum surgery, tooth extractions, and orthodontic treatment.

Some patients may need general anesthesia (GA) for major dental work. GA is not recommended for children younger than 12 years old because of possible side effects.

If you’re considering sedation dentistry, ask your dentist how long he/she recommends waiting after receiving sedative medication before undergoing dental work. Also, find out whether the procedure requires local anesthesia or General Anesthesia.

For people who need oral surgery, total sedative anesthesia may be needed or preferred.

Who Benefits from Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry has numerous advantages for people who suffer from dental fear or dental anxiety

According to some estimates, dental anxiety affects more than 30% of Americans, with another 12% experiencing extreme fears of the dentist.

People who need sedation dentistry include those suffering from anxiety and fear during dental procedures, those who suffer from chronic pain, and those who experience extreme discomfort due to severe gum disease. These patients benefit greatly from sedation dentistry because it helps them relax and feel safe during treatment.

Sedation dentistry is especially helpful when treating young children, teens, and adults with special needs. This includes those with autism, Down syndrome, and mental health issues.

Another group of patients who benefit from sedation dentistry are those with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when soft tissue in the throat collapses, causing airway obstruction. The result is poor oxygen intake and carbon dioxide buildup. Patients with sleep apnea often wake up feeling exhausted and struggle to fall back asleep.

Types of Sedation Dentistry

There are several types of dental sedation available. Your dentist will recommend the best option based on the situation. One of the following sedation options may work for you:

  • Oral sedation—a pill that is taken shortly before a dental procedure to calm the patient down. The patient will still remember the experience and will not be asleep. 
  • Nitrous oxide/”Laughing Gas”—similar to oral sedation, inhaled nitrous oxide is intended to produce a calming effect, but the patient will be awake. 
  • Computer-generated anesthesia— this form of sedation delivers anesthetic with precision using a tiny needle. The patient is awake, but will not feel any pain.
  • IV sedation—delivered through an IV, this type of sedation is very deep and the patient may not remember any portion of the treatment. It is most often used for very extensive procedures or patients who are extremely scared of dental work or have special needs.

Oral Sedation

Also called pill sedation or sleep dentistry, this form of sedation involves simply taking a pill before the dental treatment. While used heavily by less-trained dentists due to ease of use, pill sedation is not reliable on its own and does not result in full amnesia. Additionally, the results can vary from patient to patient, making it hard to predict the effects. Although it typically uses many of the same medications as IV sedation, the pills take much longer to absorb, so this method requires a long delay in cases where more medication is needed. Since oral sedation is less effective and more unpredictable, we prefer to use it only as a mild relaxer if needed.


  • Erases anxiety and fear
  • Enables you to get the dental work needed, without stress
  • Easy to administer

IV Conscious Sedation Dentistry

Used by our specially trained and certified dentists, IV Conscious Sedation administers medication directly to the bloodstream. Since IV sedation requires such specified training and is strictly overseen by our State Board of Dentistry, we are among just 4 to 6% of dentists nationwide that routinely use this method in our practice. The advantage of this method is that the doctor can easily and instantaneously administer more medication if the patient is insufficiently sedated. Additionally, the drugs used in intravenous sedation are more effective than the same medications taken by mouth, which means that this technique is associated with more profound amnesia.

Computer-Generated Anesthesia

One of the most advanced method of Sedation dentistry offered by dentists today, computer-generated anesthesia uses a tiny needle to painlessly deliver the anesthetic to precise locations. The computer tracks the flow of the medication to deliver the correct amount to be both comfortable and effective while also being easily adjustable. Highly-trained dentists can use this method to provide a precise enough dose to anesthetize a single tooth, but it can also be used more broadly in larger areas of the mouth. This leaves the patient fully conscious and awake but completely eliminates pain during the procedure.

Inhalation Conscious Sedation | Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen Sedation

Nitrous Oxide, or Oxygen Sedation, is popularly known as laughing gas and is the most common method of sedation for most dentists. It is given through a small breathing mask that is placed directly over the patient’s nose, allowing them to inhale the gas. With this method, the patient retains normal bodily functions and can breathe independently. This method has the benefits of being simple to administer and having very few side effects, as well as being quickly removed from the body after the procedure. However, it does leave the patient awake and produces no memory loss, making it best for patients with mild anxiety who simply wish to take the edge off.


  • Relaxes the patient and decreases anxiety and fear
  • Safe for most patients
  • Leaves the body quickly
  • Patients can typically drive themselves home

Administration of Anesthesia for Dental Procedures

Dentists should administer anesthesia carefully because some medications can cause serious complications if overdosed or given too frequently. Sedatives can lead to sleep apnea, which is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep.

When selecting an anesthesia dentist in Miami, consider his/her experience level, training, and credentials. Ask friends and family members who’ve had work done at this office. Also ask whether he/she offers sedation dentistry in Miami.

What About Anesthesia Side Effects?

Side effects are not just side effects. They’re serious problems that can cause harm to patients and damage to your reputation. So when considering sedative dentistry, be aware of these common side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Headaches
  • Sleepiness
  • Memory loss
  • Hallucinations
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors

Recovering from sedation dentistry

When the treatment is over, the patient should wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go home. However, some patients may experience residual effects, including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, muscle aches, and confusion. These symptoms usually last no longer than 30 minutes.

To recover from sedation, patients need to drink plenty of fluids and eat foods rich in carbohydrates. They should avoid caffeine and alcohol for at least twenty-four (24) hour period following the operation. Alcohol can cause dehydration, which may increase the chance of developing an infection. Patients who had sedation for multiple days should take it easy and limit physical activity.

Once the patient feels better, he or she should call his or her dentist right away. Otherwise, the doctor may prescribe painkillers to ease discomfort.

But is sedation appropriate for children? Obviously, safety is the top priority for parents and dentists
Safety is the top priority for parents and dentists

Is Sedation Dentistry Safe For Kids?

Visiting the dentist can be stressful for people of all ages. Dental professionals know that having your teeth worked on is not always a comfortable experience, and they do their best to prevent any negative experiences by providing gentle preventative care and using local anesthesia when needed during procedures to prevent pain.

When it comes to kids, the experience of visiting a dentist can be especially scary. Young children may not know what to expect, or they may have had a bad experience in the past that has made them fearful of all future dental visits. It can be tough for parents to ensure that their kids get the dental care they need while ensuring that their experience at the dentist isn’t traumatic.

Sedation dentistry, which involves the use of sedatives to relax a patient during dental procedures, is a service that some highly-qualified dentists offer. It is a great option for adults who need major work on their teeth, or for those who are extremely fearful of dental work and need it in order to feel comfortable and safe.

But is sedation appropriate for children? Obviously, safety is the top priority for parents and dentists. Here’s what you need to know about sedation dentistry for kids.

  1. Children often experience anxiety when visiting the dentist because they’re afraid of needles, loud noises, and pain. But thanks to sedation dentistry, these fears are easily overcome.
  2. Children who receive sedation dentistry usually fall asleep within minutes after receiving the drug. The dentist may administer additional doses of medication until the child falls asleep. Once asleep, the dentist performs the procedure.
  3. When sedating kids, there are two main types of sedatives used: oral and intravenous (IV). Oral sedation is administered through pills or liquids that are swallowed. IV sedation is given through injections directly into the bloodstream. Both methods work well for kids, although some parents prefer IV over oral.

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Why Choose Dr. Gallardo

  • Dr. Gallardo has 30 years of experience offering dental implants and specialized periodontics to patients throughout South Florida.
  • Dr. Gallardo is a graduate from the University of Miami and received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from New York University College of Dentistry.
  • Accepted into the V.A. Medical Center General Practice Residency Program of the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs where he was honored with the “Outstanding Resident of the Year” Award.
  • He has lectured nationally and internationally to dentists and hygienists and has been sponsored by companies such as Procter and Gamble to speak on clinical topics related to gum disease and implant dentistry.
  • Dr. Gallardo remains a leader in periodontics and implant dentistry through his active and past involvement with University of Florida, Florida Association of Periodontists and North American Society of Periodontists.

Sedation Dentistry FAQs

A sedative is a broad term for medications that produce a calming, relaxing, or sleeping effect. They are becoming widely used in both general and cosmetic dentistry to produce a more efficient and effective treatment session without pain or anxiety.


Most side effects to sedatives are either desirable, such as amnesia regarding the procedure, or residual, such as continued sleepiness for several hours after the procedure. Occasionally, though, there may be problematic drug interactions, so it’s important to discuss your other medications with your dentist before the procedure.

Most patients become very calm and relaxed shortly after sedation begins. Depending on the dose of the sedative, you may find yourself relatively alert still or very sleepy. In most cases, the sedative will make the time seem to pass very quickly and will likely leave you unable to remember much or all of the procedure.

In most areas, sedation dentists are required to be trained or specially permitted. There are a number of private organizations such as DOCS Education that provide thorough training in sedation. In some cases, the full dental team is required to have training in sedation in order to be adequately able to monitor care and respond to dental emergencies.

Your preparation will depend on the medication used. In some cases, you’ll need to avoid food or water on the day of the procedure. You will probably also need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from your appointment, since you may be too groggy to drive safely after your visit. During your initial consultation, we will fully review the steps you’ll need to take before your sedation dentistry procedure.

In most cases, patients should plan to take the remainder of the day to rest and recover, although the exact length of time will depend on both the sedation method and the procedure. You’ll need to avoid driving or operating machinery for a full 24 hours in most cases, and you should take particular care to remain hydrated.

Depending on the severity of your dental issues, your sedation dentistry appointment could last from two to six hour(s). Call our office to know more about the benefits of sedation dentistry.

If you live near Miami, FL, Gallardo Periodontics and Implant Dentistry offers sedation dentistry among its services, and is conveniently located at 2020 SW 27th Ave Miami, FL 33145

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