Conscious sedation for surgical procedures and “Sleep” dentistry

Conscious sedation is a combination of medicines to help you relax (a sedative) and to block pain (an anesthetic) during a medical or dental procedure. You will probably stay awake but may not be able to speak. Conscious sedation lets you recover quickly and return to your everyday activities soon after your procedure.

Nitrous Oxide

Sedation dentistry allows patients to relax during dental procedures. Otherwise known as “laughing gas” nitrous oxide is combined with oxygen and administered by placing a mask over the nose and mouth. Dr. Bokser then controls the amount of sedation appropriate to the patient’s body type.

About Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry, sometimes called “Sleep Dentistry,” is a safe, gentle option used to help patients relax while they are having dental treatment.

It doesn’t matter if you get nervous when you visit your family dentist for a checkup. What concerns dentists across the country is that the fear of dentistry keeps people from coming in at all. To maintain your dental health, it’s not enough to brush twice a day and floss your teeth at least once a day; you need to visit your restorative family dentist twice a year for an exam and a cleaning.

And yet three of every 10 Americans avoid dentists for that very reason, according to Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation. More people aren’t getting the dental care they need to prevent tooth decay, periodontal disease, and potential tooth loss. Instead of giving in to your fears, rely on a dentist who offers sedation and sleep dentistry.

Sedation Dentistry

What Is The Difference Between Sleep Dentistry and Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is the term that covers all pain-free dental procedures. Sleep dentistry refers to techniques used that knock you out entirely during the process, just as you would be anesthetized in a hospital for surgery. All sleep dentistry is safe and effective.

The purpose of sedation dentistry is to put you into a relaxed state to eliminate your pain and alleviate your fears. It’s a proven method that allows you to get the dental care you need without causing you undue anxiety. There are four levels of sedation dentistry, from mildest to deepest:

  1. Deep. You remain conscious and communicative, but you’re calm and pain-free. Inhaling nitrous oxide, commonly referred to as laughing gas, is usually the way to reach this state. Your dentist puts a mask over your nose and mouth and tells you to breathe. Nitrous oxide isn’t addictive, and it dissipates quickly. You can even drive yourself home after your treatment.
  2. Deeper. You may slur your words, but you’re conscious, if not alert. You probably won’t remember anything your dentist does. You get to this level of sedation through a pill, an injection, or an intravenous (IV) drip. Ask a friend to drive you home, as you’ll feel unsteady on your feet.
  3. Deepest. At this deepest level of sedation dentistry, you’re not totally under, but you may struggle to speak. Delivered through an IV drip, you definitely won’t feel a thing during your procedure. Afterward, you’ll still feel out of sorts for several hours, so arrange for a ride home.
  4. Unconscious. You’re completely unconscious during your dental procedure, so you don’t feel anything. You’ll need time to come out of the haze, and you cannot drive yourself home. The most potent sleep dentistry technique, it’s used rarely, and just for severe cases of anxiety.

How You Know if You Need Sedation or Sleep Dentistry?

Not everyone can admit to a fear of dentists. Do you cancel dentist appointments or purposefully ignore appointment reminders? If you never have trouble coming up with an excuse to skip a dental visit, even when you’re experiencing a toothache, chances are you can benefit from sleep dentistry.

But there are other reasons you may want to try some type of sedation at your dentist’s office in Astoria, NY. For example:

  • You have “white coat hypertension,” a condition that raises your blood pressure just by being in a medical or clinical setting.
  • You have to undergo a particularly lengthy or commonly painful procedure.
  • You just don’t tolerate pain very well.
  • You have an overactive gag reflex.
  • Your gums are especially sensitive.
  • You or a family member can’t sit still for the procedure.

Some people, regardless of their fears, don’t qualify for sedation or sleep dentistry. You can’t be obese, allergic to the anesthesia, or have other health issues. If you suffer from sleep apnea, tell your dentist before your procedure.

How Does Conscious Sedation Work?

Dr. Alexander Bokser, DDS will give you conscious sedation in the hospital or outpatient clinic. The medicine will wear off quickly, so it is used for short, uncomplicated procedures.

You will begin to feel drowsy and relaxed very quickly. If your doctor gives you the medicine to swallow, you will feel the effects after about 30 to 60 minutes.

Your breathing will slow down, and your blood pressure may drop a little. Your health care provider will monitor you every during your procedure to make sure you are okay. We will stay with you at all times during the procedure.

You should not need help with your breathing. But you may receive extra oxygen or nitrous oxide through a mask.
You may fall asleep, but you will wake up easily to respond to people in the room. You may be able to respond to verbal cues.

After conscious sedation, you may feel drowsy and not remember much about your procedure.

Schedule Your Appointment

The Risks and Side Effects of Sedation Dentistry

First, remember the risks of not seeing your dentist at least twice a year is the threat of gum disease, cavities, tooth infections, and, ultimately, tooth extractions. As for sedation or sleep dentistry, your risks are minimal, as you’ll be in a controlled environment surrounded by professionals. At worst, you’ll feel dizzy for several hours after your procedure, but that fades quickly.

Ask your dentist if your insurance covers sedation dentistry. If not, you may have to pay for it out of your pocket. But our dental practice offers affordable dentistry because they know it’s better to get the treatment you need now than to put it off.

Avoid future pain and extensive dental work by opting for painless dentistry procedures in Astoria, NY. Contact Precision Dental NYC to ask about sedation dentistry and how it can help you get the dental care you need.


I have had a very good experience with Doctor Bokser. He takes everything with ease and ensures that your issues are taken care in a timely and professional manner. He has the most light hand that I have ever experienced. I had a wisdom tooth extracted the other day and I didn't even notice when he was done. I would recommend Doctor Bokser to anyone that needs a great dentist as he is the best.


This page was modified on by Dr. Alexander Bokser, DDS (Dentist) of Precision Dental NYC

Dr. Alexander Bokser | Dr. Irene Bokser

Dr. Alexander Bokser is a dentist in Astoria, NY and Bayside, NY. He received his degree from New York University College of Dentistry, licensed by the New York State Board of Regents and the North East Regional Board of Dental Examiners.

He is currently teaching dentistry at Albert Einstein School of Medicine. Dr. Bokser has received numerous awards in dentistry and community service. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, and North Queens Dental Study Club.


The information on this website is to provide general dental information. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive dental advice. It is important to consult the best in class dentist in Astoria regarding ANY dental questions or issues. A thorough evaluation should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call our dentist in Astoria, Queens to schedule a consultation.

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