Oral sedation dentistry is a medical procedure involving the administration of oral sedative drugs (a pill that is taken before the dental appointment) that reduces a patient’s fear and anxiety. Most patients feel relaxed and rest during their procedure.

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 in 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 can be awakened with a gentle shake.