Dental sedation

Many times people avoid visiting the dentist because of fear or anxiety. If dental diseases are left untreated, they can adversely affect communication, nutrition, and general well-being. This may ultimately lower self-esteem along with a decrease in social activities. When people neglect their oral health, they often find themselves in a situation where dramatic measures are necessary, which can be scary for those with dental phobia. Sedation dentistry addresses this phobia. Gateway Dentistry Group is pleased to offer you dental treatment under IV sedation and general anesthesia. We hope to provide an opportunity for you to receive dental treatment when it otherwise seems impossible.

Sedation dentistry may be for you if you:

  • Have severe anxiety or fear
  • Require procedures which would be unpleasant if you were conscious
  • Have difficulty getting numb
  • Have very sensitive teeth
  • Require extensive dental work
  • Have a bad gag reflex
  • Do not like the experience of dental care (noises, smells, etc.)
  • Have special needs

Sedation dentistry may be for children if they are:

  • Very young
  • Unable to cooperate
  • Special needs
  • Require extensive dental work

We want you to know that your comfort and safety is our first priority.

IV sedation

IV sedation is designed to better enable you to undergo your dental procedures while you are very relaxed. It will enable you to tolerate, as well as not remember, those procedures that may be very uncomfortable for you. IV sedation will essentially help alleviate the anxiety associated with your treatment. You may not be asleep, but you will be comfortable, calm and relaxed.

IV sedation is administered by a thin needle which will be introduced into a vein in your arm or hand. The needle will be attached to an intravenous tube through which medication will be given to help you relax and feel comfortable (we may also administer medication to help with post-operative swelling and infection). With IV sedation, a constant “drip” is maintained via the intravenous tube. At any time an antidote can be administered to reverse the effects of the medications if necessary.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is a management technique that uses medications to cause a patient to become unconscious and asleep while receiving dental care. It is especially useful in treating children and uncooperative patients. It is also an excellent option for those patients who have anxiety towards receiving dental treatment, require extensive dental treatment and/or patients who are not good candidates for sedation.

At Gateway Dentistry Group, all general anesthesia is performed by medical anesthesiologists from the QEII Hospital.

A medical anesthesiologist is a fully trained doctor who has spent additional years receiving specialized training in anesthesia. The anesthesiologist is responsible for the overall medical care of the patient during dental surgery.

We feel fortunate to have teamed with the local medical anesthesiologists from the QEII hospital here in Grande Prairie. They are an extremely talented group of our physician colleagues.

A general anesthesia is usually accomplished by injecting medication into an IV (small plastic tube inserted into a vein in the hand or arm). The patient will be unconscious and unable to breathe on her/his own, therefore, a breathing tube will be inserted. All important body functions are closely monitored throughout the procedure and the anesthetist will remain with the patient for the entire appointment.

Once the procedure is completed, the anesthesiologist will reverse the general anesthesia effect and take the patient to recovery. Recovery room nurses, under the supervision of the anesthesiologist, are trained to care for the patient while he/she returns to consciousness. All vital signs will be continuously monitored.

Nitrous Oxide

As an alternative to IV sedation, we also offer nitrous oxide. It is a sedative agent that is combined with oxygen and inhaled through a breathing mask that fits over your nose. Nitrous oxide is designed to help you relax during dental procedures and is often referred to as “laughing gas.” While receiving nitrous oxide, you will be awake and will be able to communicate with your dentist, but will also feel at ease. You may feel a tingling in your arms and legs while also possibly feeling a bit light-headed. These effects will quickly subside once the mask is removed. If you believe nitrous oxide is an option you’d like to consider, please consult with our dentists!


Although there is some risk associated with general anesthesia, it is safe when administered by trained individuals in an appropriately equipped facility. Many precautions are taken to provide safety for the patient during general anesthesia. Patients are closely monitored by personnel who are trained to manage complications.

It is also your responsibility to follow all instructions closely. We require a pre-operative health history and physical examination prior to general anesthesia appointments. Patients and parents are instructed to report any illness that occurs prior to the general anesthesia appointment. It may be necessary to reschedule. It is very important to follow instructions regarding pre-operative fasting from fluids and foods. Patients must have an empty stomach before receiving general anesthesia. Normally the body has a mechanism that automatically prevents you from vomiting into your lungs, but this mechanism is suppressed during general anesthesia.

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