Meramec Family Dentistry

Meramec Family Dentistry



Sedation dentistry is an invaluable tool for anyone who experiences fear or anxiety in response to visiting a dentistry practice. Because dental care is essential to maintaining overall health, it is important to find a practice that will help you feel at ease during dental procedures. 

Oral sedation can help you feel at ease

Additional advantages to patients include:

  • You are able to relax during your dental visit. 
  • You will experience less difficulty while sitting through any dental work you must undergo. 
  • Multiple treatments and even full-mouth restorations can be completed during a single visit
  • You experience far less discomfort following dental treatment.


Benzodiazepines are the most frequently prescribed drugs used to treat dental anxiety. These drugs include Valium, Halcion, Xanax, and Ativan. Each of these medications decreases anxiety by binding or toning down the activity that occurs in the brain in response to fear.


There are two different types of benzodiazepines used to ease the effects of anxiety. These include sedative-hypnotics and anti-anxiety medications. The most pressing differences between the two include the physical effects of the drugs.

Sedative-hypnotic drugs are known to induce a sense of calm and may lead to feelings of drowsiness. These drugs may even cause you to fall asleep. Sleep caused by sedative benzodiazepines is considered a form of hypnosis, or physiological sleep.

Anti-anxiety drugs are used to relieve anxiety and create a state of calm or relaxation. They are not typically used as a sleep aid.

Benzodiazepines may act as both sedatives and anxiety drugs, but some target specific areas of the brain that center on sleep, while others target fear centers. Most benzodiazepines can induce sleep at high doses and reduce anxiety at lower doses. 

Benzodiazepines function as Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants. Use can cause a sharp decline in both blood pressure and breathing. They should not be mixed with other CNS depressants (including alcohol), or adverse reactions may occur. 

You must adhere to the dosing recommendations your dentist or doctor provides. Overdose on CNS depressants can occur. An overdose would lead to dangerously low respiratory rates, which may result in coma or even death. 

Due to the depressive nature of these drugs, you should not drive or travel alone following a dose. An escort should be used for any form of travel, including bus travel. It is easy to become confused and place yourself in harm’s way.


Some drugs may have adverse effects on your liver and heart. Before taking benzodiazepines, you must consult with your medical practitioner or pharmacist. 


You should also inform your doctor or dentist if any of the following risks apply to you: known benzodiazepine allergy, narrow-angle glaucoma, current or suspected pregnancy, any form of severe respiratory disease, congestive heart failure, inadequate kidney or liver function, depression (and other depressive disorders or psychoses), chronic bronchitis, and similar conditions. 


It is vital to also let us know if you are taking any medications in addition to oral sedatives. There are possible drug interactions that can place you at risk. For more information, or for help determining if you are a candidate for this form of sedation, do not hesitate to contact our team or schedule an evaluation! 

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