Conscious IV Sedation

35 million Americans experience significant apprehension about dental procedures. In addition, 10-12 million are considered to be “dental phobic,” and avoid dental care all together. For many, sedative dentistry is the answer.


Often referred to as “Laughing Gas,” Nitrous Oxide is one of the most commonly used types of sedation. It is inhaled through a small rubber mask that is placed over your nose. Initially, you may have a feeling of lightheadedness. This is soon replaced by a lucid, dreamy feeling. Even though you are aware of what is happening around you, you have a lack of interest in it. While Nitrous Oxide has a numbing effect all of its own, you will still require local anesthetic for your dental procedure.

Once the procedure is completed you are placed on oxygen. Within minutes you are back to your normal self.

The advantages to Nitrous Oxide are its rapid onset, lack of lingering effects, your ability to engage in conversation while under its influence, and the ability to drive yourself home after the procedure.


This form of sedation involves placing a powder form of Halcion under your tongue. It usually takes about 30 minutes to take effect. You may become sleepy, and your sense of awareness becomes impaired. Local anesthetic is still required for your dental procedure. The effects of oral sedation can last for up to four hours. Therefore, it is only an option if you have someone to drive you home.

The disadvantages to oral sedation are the longer onset time, and once the drug has been administered it can not be reversed. Oral Sedation can be used in conjunction with Nitrous Oxide.


IV Sedation is often times the best option for the “dental phobic.” Dr. Hawkins is one of the only General Dentists qualified and licensed to offer IV Sedation for dental treatment in our area.

Before IV Sedation can be used for a dental procedure we need to evaluate your medical history, and a list of current medications. You are then scheduled in our office at a time when Dr. Hawkins can give his full attention to you. You are asked not to eat for 12 hours prior to the procedure, and may be asked to discontinue certain types of medication. You will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment.

The actual procedure is relatively simple. First, a saline IV is placed. Then a drug called Versed (Midazolam) is titrated into the IV in low dose increments until a state of “light sleep” is achieved. Your eyes are still awake, but you are in a hypnotic state of sedation. You are breathing completely on your own.

The best advantage to IV Sedation is you have no memory of the dental procedure. If you are nervous in a dental office, sedation dentistry may be right for you.