Sedation Dentistry in Columbia, SC

Ensuring your comfort is an important part of our practice philosophy. At Bethea Family Dentistry, we want to help you feel completely at ease while you’re with us so nothing stops you from getting the treatments you need. While our compassionate team promotes a welcoming, judgment-free atmosphere, we also offer sedation dentistry as an option for our patients. With dental sedation, you can truly sit back and relax as we take care of your smile.

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Reasons to Consider Sedation Dentistry

Dental anxiety or fear is one of the most common reasons why patients choose to get sedation, but it’s not the only reason. There are many different situations where opting for sedation dentistry can help you have a more pleasant experience during your dental visit. Here are some of the most common reasons to consider sedation dentistry:

  • If you feel anxious or afraid about visiting the dentist.
  • If you have a sensitive gag reflex.
  • If you have sensitive teeth and/or gums.
  • If you require extensive dental work.
  • If you find it difficult to sit still for the required period of time.
  • If you can’t stand the sounds involved with dental work.
  • If you have had negative experiences at the dentist in the past.

Our Sedation Options

Bethea Family Dentistry has two sedation options available: nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation.

Nitrous oxide is also well-known as laughing gas. It’s one of the most commonly used types of sedation, and it’s also considered a mild form of sedation. Nitrous oxide is administered through a flexible mask placed over your nose, through which you’ll breathe normally.

We are able to adjust the level of nitrous oxide depending on your needs. Once we remove the mask and you breathe in regular air, the effects will wear off quickly. This allows you to drive yourself home from your appointment and continue about your day like normal.


Oral conscious sedation is considered a mild to moderate form of sedation dentistry. With this option, you’ll take a prescribed pill at a designated time before your appointment so that you feel the sedative effects by the time of your treatment.

As its name suggests, you’ll still remain conscious while under the effects of oral conscious sedation, but you may feel a bit sleepy. We require that you have someone available to take you home once your appointment is over as the effects will take a bit longer to wear off.

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Sedation FAQ

Is sedation dentistry safe?

At Bethea Family Dentistry, patient safety is our number one priority. Our team will never recommend treatments that we don’t think will result in the best outcome for our patients. We always take the patient’s current health status, medical history, treatment plan, and preferences into consideration before recommending sedation. If you have any questions or concerns for our team regarding dental sedation, please don’t hesitate to ask. We want every patient’s experiences with our team to be as safe, effective, and productive as possible.

Do I have to prepare for dental sedation?

If you are receiving nitrous oxide, we recommend eating a light meal before your appointment to reduce the chances that you will experience nausea as a side effect. Patients who are receiving oral conscious sedation should determine in advance who will be accompanying them to their appointment and driving them home afterward. Oral medication will need to be taken at a specific time before the appointment to ensure that it begins working at the right time, and our team will provide you with these instructions.

How long does it take for sedation to wear off?

It depends on the patient and the type of sedation that is used. Generally speaking, we don’t recommend that patients make a lot of important plans for the hours following their visit if they are utilizing dental sedation. The effects of nitrous oxide begin to dissipate after a couple of minutes, but it can still leave the patient feeling lightheaded for a while. Patients who utilize oral conscious sedation should plan to go straight home after their appointment to sleep or rest for a few hours, and it can take up to 24 hours to feel completely back to normal.