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Sedation Dentistry

FREE Oral Conscious Sedation
($350 value)
Call 858-459-0077 today to schedule.

Dilara

2 Dental Implants and Porcelain Bridge
Dilara was just about to lose 4 front teeth due to bad roots and a bad fall. Can you imagine losing your front teeth at a young age? We were able to place 2 dental implants and connect her 4 front teeth to give her an amazingly confident smile back.

It is very common to be nervous about the dental chair. Millions of people share the same hesitance to make that appointment or get work done.

Difficulties with dental work can be due to a number of reasons.

  • Severe gag reflex.
  • ADD/ADHD.
  • Involuntary muscle movement.
  • High muscle tension.
  • Anxiety.
  • Past trauma.
  • Trouble with the effectiveness of local anesthesia.
  • Mental troubles, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.
  • High drug tolerance.

If you suffer from one or more items in the list above, then you may be interested in sedation dentistry.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation is a perk available to you for just about any dental procedure you might need. It is not a replacement of traditional anesthesias or techniques, but an add-on to make those processes a little easier to bear.

There are several different ways to receive sedation treatment, but all of them provide a number of great benefits for you.

Ease of Mind | Anxiety is a common difficulty, especially in the face of the dental chair. Sedation practices help lower anxiety and increase peace of mind. In fact, some forms of sedation are even proven anxiolytics, or anti-anxiety measures.

In addition, many older patients who suffer from memory loss or dementia can benefit from a sedation treatment in order to calm sudden fear or confusion.

Ease of Body | Relaxants can ease tension of the muscles and prevent them from contracting at inopportune times. This can be especially helpful in the case of an ailment like Parkinson’s, or when a patient has an overactive gag reflex.

Relaxed muscles also help in the relaxing of the mind by lowering adrenaline production common to fight or flight responses.

Sedation Options

There are many different ways to receive dental sedation, each with their own pros and cons.

Minimal Sedation | By far one of the most common and longest-used methods is laughing gas. Laughing gas has been safely and effectively used in dental procedures for well over a hundred years, and is still one of the safest, most hypoallergenic substances used for sedation.

One of the most interesting and useful aspects of laughing gas is the fact that it doesn’t metabolize. In other words, when we take it into our bodies, it doesn’t break down or absorb into our tissues.

This means that from the moment the gas stops flowing, it only takes a minute or two for the substance to completely leave. No residual effects. No adverse reactions. In fact, it is both safe and legal to drive yourself home after laughing gas.

Moderate Sedation | This is otherwise known as conscious sedation. Moderate sedation takes you a little deeper than laughing gas. You’ll still be entirely conscious and able to respond to questions, but you’ll be even more relaxed, for an excellent, low-stress dental experience.

It will, however, leave you groggier than laughing gas, which means you’ll need a ride home from the appointment.

The Cost of Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry can be life changing for someone that struggles with crippling dental anxiety, fear of needles or other challenges that make it difficult to sit in the dentist’s chair. Thanks to sedative medications, patients can enjoy comfortable, relaxed dental appointments with little to no recollection of treatment afterward. Sedation dentistry makes it possible for patients that have avoided the dentist for years to receive the care they need and deserve.

Dr. Weston Spencer is pleased to offer sedation dentistry to nervous or fearful patients. He is often asked how much sedation dentistry costs in La Jolla, and his entire team understands that cost is an important consideration to any candidate. We are committed to being fair and up-front about these costs at the time of your consultation.

What Determines the Cost of Dental Sedation?

The cost of sedation dentistry varies, depending on several factors like dentist and geographical region. The type of sedation method used is perhaps the most important factor. The type of sedation method that will be used in your case depends on your level of anxiety, general health, allergies and the type of dental care you require.

Minimal sedation like laughing gas and oral sedatives generally cost less than moderate and deep sedation methods like intravenous sedation. General anesthesia is the most expensive form of sedation dentistry, as it requires us to bring in a dental anesthesiologist. However, the cost may be well worth it if you need extensive dental work or have a debilitating fear of dental treatment.

Remember that the cost of the sedation medication is separate from the cost of dental treatment.  Generally, we discuss sedation dentistry costs at the time of your treatment consultation. You will receive a quote for the cost of your dental treatment as well as the cost of the recommended sedation dentistry technique.

Also, consider that sometimes sedation dentistry can help save on overall treatment costs by making it possible for you to undergo several treatments in a single appointment. Combining treatments could eliminate the need for multiple dental appointments and some of the costs incurred by them.

Does Insurance Cover Sedation Dentistry?

Although some dental insurance companies may cover the cost of sedation dentistry, the majority of insurers do not. They consider sedation methods to be optional and therefore not eligible for coverage. If you are interested in sedation dentistry, we encourage you to check with your individual provider for your plan details. If they do offer coverage, we are happy to help you submit a claim. We understand how difficult it can be to navigate dental insurance and our team is always here to answer any questions you may have.

Payment Options and Financing

Please contact Dr. Spencer and our team for information about accepted forms of payment and possible financing options. Financing the cost of sedation dentistry may break the total cost down into manageable monthly payments.

Who Is A Candidate For Sedation Dentistry?

For the right candidate, sedation dentistry is a game changer. Safe medications can be inhaled, taken orally or administered intravenously to put patients into a deeply relaxed and comfortable state while they receive dental treatment. Sedation dentistry can mean the difference between a lifetime of oral health problems and achieving healthy, functional teeth and gums.

However, sedation dentistry isn’t right for everyone. Dr. Weston Spencer evaluates his La Jolla sedation dentistry candidates on an individual basis to determine whether they can safely receive sedation.

Signs You Could Benefit from Sedation Dentistry

You might benefit from sedation dentistry if you:

  • Feel anxious, nervous or afraid of receiving dental treatment
  • Have avoided the dentist for years because of a previously traumatic experience
  • Have extremely sensitive teeth
  • Have a severe gag reflex
  • Have difficulty getting numb
  • Fear needles
  • Fear the sounds and smells of a dental drill or other instruments
  • Cannot keep your mouth open for extended periods of time
  • Have trouble sitting still in a dental chair for extended periods of time
  • Need a lot of dental work done in one appointment
  • Have a condition that makes it difficult to control your movements
  • Have not seen a dentist in many years
  • Are embarrassed by the condition of your teeth or gums

Sedation dentistry is commonly used with elderly patients that might have a lower threshold for pain or find it difficult to control their responses to treatment. Sedation dentistry is also recommended to adults that have physical or mental disabilities, or health conditions like Parkinson’s disease or cerebral palsy, that prevent them from being able to control their movements while receiving treatment. The sedative medication temporarily relaxes these patients so they can safely and comfortably receive the dental treatment they need.

Evaluating Sedation Dentistry Candidates

Dr. Spencer sits down with every sedation dentistry candidate one-on-one to determine whether sedation dentistry is a safe option and if so, what type. When you meet with him for your consultation, you can expect him to ask you some questions about yourself and your needs.

Your health and medical history are very important considerations. Your safety and well-being are our ultimate priority and we want to choose the safest sedative method possible. You should be honest and up-front with Dr. Spencer about your medical history, allergies and medications you take. You might be allergic to one of the sedative medications that we use, or you might take a certain medication that interacts badly with anesthesia. We need to know these things so we can make educated decisions about your care and avoid complications.

When we select your sedation method, we will take into account the nature and extent of the dental work needed. We may recommend a different sedative method for a teeth cleaning than we would a full mouth reconstruction. All of these options will be discussed with you at length.

Skilled Dental Anesthesiologist Dr. Andrew Elmasri


Dr. Elmasri is an excellent and well-trained anesthesiologist. He has won many awards, and is double board certified by the American Dental Board of Anesthesiologists and the National Dental Board of Anesthesiologists.

We’re especially glad to have him on hand so that you know your sedation experience will be top-notch.

Contact Sedation Dentist Dr. Weston Spencer In La Jolla!

For more information about the sedation dentistry, please contact Dr. Weston Spencer and his skilled team at his La Jolla dental office location. Dr. Spencer would love to walk you through your dental treatment options and recommend an appropriate level of dental sedation for your individual needs. Schedule a consultation with him today!

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