Sedation Dentistry

If you ask most people to name things they enjoy, a visit to the dentist is not likely on the list. Injections, the sounds of a drill, strange smells, negative past experiences and pain are all things that can contribute to a fear of even the best dental office in Tucson. This anxiety causes many people to avoid regular dental visits. Once started in this cycle of fear and avoidance, longer amounts of time pass between office visits. This leaves you more prone to decay and likely even more fearful.


Fortunately, there is now a way to reduce the amount of apprehension you feel toward a dental appointment! Dr. Nagao is a sedation dentist in Tucson that has undergone special training to be able to offer you a better experience. He is able to give you multiple options when it comes to dental sedation in Tucson depending on your anxiety level. 


Types of Sedation Dentistry


Inhalation Anesthetics

The most basic type of dental sedation in Tucson is Nitrous Oxide. Many people know this option as “laughing gas.” With this method of sedation, a mask is put over your nose that delivers oxygen and nitrous oxide. This mixture of gas calms nerves and can even reduce pain. Under the effects of Nitrous Oxide you may feel euphoric, tingly, or like your arms and legs are floating. Nitrous is an extremely safe option that wears off quickly. In fact, you will be able to drive yourself to and from your appointment. One of the biggest benefits of this type of sedation is that it is inexpensive, has a fast onset and the effects are short. The negative, if there is one, is the level of sedation is minimal.

Oral Sedation

The next step up in sedation level is oral sedation. If you choose oral sedation, Dr. Nagao will give you a pill, typically Halcion – a drug similar to Valium or Xanax, to calm your nerves. Depending on the dose you will experience different effects. With a minimal dose you may feel calm and drowsy. With a higher dose you may even fall asleep during the procedure. Oral sedation can be used in conjunction with inhalation anesthetics to achieve great results. The benefits of oral sedation include a deeper level of sedation, ease of delivery and safety. One of the major negatives associated with oral sedation is that because of deeper sedation levels you will need an escort to drive you to and from our office. This type of sedation is also less predictable than other types, like IV sedation. 


IV Sedation

IV sedation is the highest level of sedation that a general dentist in Tucson can provide. This involves the delivery of sedative drugs like Versed combined with Fentanyl directly into the bloodstream to achieve a moderate level of sedation. These drugs are given directly in to the blood, allowing the doctor a greater amount of control over the level of sedation. IV access also gives the doctor the option to give supplemental drugs in the same manner. If you need an antibiotic, a steroid or a pain medication, these can often be given directly through the IV. In order for a dentist to perform IV sedation he or she is required to take special training courses, utilize special monitors for vital signs and pass a state inspection for licensure. Dr. Nagao has gone through this entire process and takes special care to ensure patients are good candidates for this type of sedation. As with oral sedation, you will need a family member or friend to drive you back and forth. 

General Anesthesia

General Anesthesia is the deepest level of sedation. Only Oral Surgeons and Dentist Anesthesiologists are allowed to perform true general anesthesia. Under this type of anesthesia you are totally unconscious during the procedure. If you are in need of this type of anesthesia we can either bring a dental anesthesiologist into the office or refer you to an oral surgeon.


No matter which type of dental sedation is best for your case, you will most likely need a local anesthetic as well. This is a numbing medication that is given around the tooth that will be worked on during the procedure. The combination of local anesthesia and sedation will ensure that you are comfortable before, during and after your visit. 

Is dental sedation right for me?

There are many different types of patients that can benefit from sedation during their dental appointments. The most common is a patient that is fearful or anxious about seeing the dentist, but sedation can also be useful if you:

  • Have difficulty sitting in a dental chair
  • Suffer from a low pain tolerance
  • Have a sensitive gag reflex
  • Need a significant amount of dental work
  • Are undergoing surgery like wisdom teeth extraction
  • Have special needs that make dental treatment difficult
  • Have a physical condition that effects movement control
  • Patients that are difficult to get numb

Is dental sedation safe?

As with anything, there is always risk, albeit small. Dr. Nagao has performed many cases and has completed all of the special training that goes along with certification in order to give you a safe experience. The office is equipped with the latest monitoring equipment and other emergency technology in the event of an emergency.  Our entire staff is CPR certified.  Prior to your appointment, Dr. Nagao will sit down with you and review your medical history to ensure that there are no problems or contraindications to treating you.


Dr Nagao is one of the few dentists that offer IV sedation dentistry in Tucson. Get help overcoming your fear of the dentist with a visit to Designer Dental and find out which type of sedation is best for you. 

Dr Nagao is one of the few dentists that offer IV sedation dentistry in Tucson.  Get help overcoming your fear of the dentist with a visit to Designer Dental and find out which type of sedation is best for you.