Sedation Dentistry

At Dinwiddie Dental, we use a variety of sedation techniques for numerous in-house services. Our primary objective is to make sure you feel comfortable, calm, and at ease throughout any dental treatment or procedure.

Sedation Dental Care in Petersburg & Dinwiddie, VA

Sedation dentistry involves the use of various sedation methods to alleviate stress, anxiety, and physical discomfort during dental treatments. It is a safe and effective way to help you feel more relaxed during your visit. We offer several sedation options, including laughing gas, general anesthesia, and IV sedation. IV sedation is commonly used at Dinwiddie Dental for surgical procedures such as wisdom teeth removal or dental implants.

Your comfort and safety during your procedure are our top priorities. Before your treatment, your dentist will recommend the appropriate level of sedation to suit your needs. We will then schedule your appointment and prepare for your procedure, ensuring you remain relaxed and at ease throughout your visit.

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patient being sedated while having her teeth worked on

Dental Sedation Options

Nitrous Oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is a simple and effective sedation technique. It involves inhaling nitrous oxide gas through a mask placed over the nose. After about 5 minutes of inhalation, most patients feel a sense of calm and experience a reduction in sensations like pressure and pain. Laughing gas acts as a short-acting pain reliever and anxiolytic, meaning it helps to ease both pain and anxiety. It is extremely safe and its effects wear off approximately 5 minutes after the procedure is completed, allowing you to drive yourself to and from your appointment without concern.

Oral sedation offers a deeper level of sedation, often leading to a ‘fuzzy’ memory of the appointment. The medication is taken between 12 hours to 1 hour before the procedure, and patients need a driver to bring them to the office. By the time of the appointment, the medication will have taken full effect, making the patient very sleepy and eliminating any pain or sensations. This method carries slightly more risk and is typically recommended for generally healthy individuals who have someone to drive them to and from the appointment.

IV sedation is considered the safest sedation method because the medication dosage can be adjusted quickly and precisely to suit each patient’s needs. This method requires a driver to and from the appointment and is suitable for healthy individuals without major health conditions. The patient will feel a small pinch in the arm when the IV is inserted, and then the medication induces a deep sleep, ensuring the patient has no memory of the procedure.

Prepare For Your Procedure

To ensure a smooth experience with IV sedation, please carefully follow our preparation guidelines:

  • Ensure Good Health: If you develop any symptoms of a head or chest cold before your appointment, we may need to reschedule your procedure.
  • 8-Hour Fast: Avoid eating anything for 8 hours prior to your appointment. You may drink water, unsweetened tea, or black coffee (no cream or sugar) up until 3 hours before your appointment. All other liquids and solids must be stopped 8 hours before the procedure.
  • Dress Comfortably: Wear loose-fitting clothing and short-sleeved tops to allow easy access to your arm for the blood pressure cuff.
  • No Fingernail Polish: Please remove any fingernail polish to prevent interference with our equipment.
  • Designated Driver Required: You must have someone to drive you to and from your appointment. This person must stay in the office or vehicle during your procedure and should not leave to run errands. They are your responsible party. If you are under 19, this must be a parent or guardian.
  • Post-Procedure Care: Arrange for someone to stay with you for at least 4 hours after the procedure.
  • Activity Restrictions: For 24 hours after your procedure, do not drive, operate machinery (including lawnmowers, tractors, etc.), or use power tools.

Kim talking with a smiling patient


  • Is dental sedation safe?

    Yes, dental sedation is a very safe option, especially for those who experience dental anxiety. After a consultation with your doctor, we will determine the safest and most suitable sedation method for you, ensuring you can undergo your dental procedure without anxiety or fear.


  • Will I be unconscious during the procedure?

    No, you won’t be unconscious, but you will be in a deeply relaxed state, allowing you to sleep through the procedure with little to no memory of it.

  • Will I be awake? What will I hear?

    With laughing gas (nitrous oxide) sedation, you will remain awake and aware of your surroundings, but the gas will help you feel indifferent to the noises and sensations. This type of sedation takes effect and wears off quickly.

    Under IV sedation, you will not be aware of the noises or activities around you. This is the deepest level of sedation, and you will likely have little to no memory of the procedure once it’s done.

  • Do I need a driver?

    For IV sedation, you will need someone to drive you to and from the appointment, as well as to stay with you for a few hours after the procedure. The medications used in IV sedation impair your ability to drive safely afterward.

    However, with laughing gas sedation, you can drive yourself to and from your dental appointment since its effects wear off quickly and it’s very safe.

Meet Your Doctors

headshot of Dr. Ben

Dr. Benjamin Dunham

Dr. Benjamin Dunham is a skilled sedation dentist dedicated to providing a comfortable and anxiety-free dental experience. He attended The Academy of Dental and Medical Anesthesia, where he received extensive training in various sedation techniques to ensure the utmost safety and care for his patients.

headshot of Dr. Liz

Dr. Elizabeth Dunham

Dr. Elizabeth Dunham specializes in sedation dentistry, offering her patients a relaxing and stress-free environment during their dental treatments. She is a graduate of The Academy of Dental and Medical Anesthesia, equipped with advanced knowledge and skills in sedation methods to cater to each patient's unique needs.

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Dinwiddie Dental

6204 Duncan Rd
Petersburg, VA 23803
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Monday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Wednesday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am – 1:00 pm



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