Sedation Dentistry in Raleigh, NC

Dental phobia is a real, often overwhelming reality for thousands of people.  Negative previous dental experiences, fear of needles or drills, and severe gag reflexes are just some of the reasons people feel extreme anxiety when thinking about visiting the dentist.

Our office offers our patients the option of a deeper form sedation for their dental treatment.  This is what sets our office apart from other dental practices, and we find that it helps to alleviate any anxiety or fear that many patients have experienced in other practices.  The doctors at Renaissance Dental Center have teamed up Dr. Dillon Atwood to provide this type of care.  Dr. Atwood is one of only a few dental anesthesiologists in North Carolina. He works with Renaissance Dental Center to provide all levels of anesthesia to our patients.  Patients may choose from a level of comfortable, relaxed sedation to a deep sleep through their dental treatment.

If you suffer from dental phobia- fear no more!  At Renaissance Dental Center, we are committed to understanding the very real nature of your fears.  Not only will our team treat you with delicacy and care, but a deeper level of anesthesia will allow you experience dentistry in a whole new way.  While engaging in a pleasant sleep-like experience, the doctors at Renaissance Dental Center will be hard at work making sure you "wake up" with the results you desire.

Dr. Dylan Atwood Sedation Dentistry Raleigh NCDillon Atwood, DDS

Dr. Atwood has a Bachelors of Science in Biology from Davidson College and attended dental school at the UNC School of Dentistry.  He completed a residency in Anesthesiology at Lutheran Medical Center in New York before returning to North Carolina.

Dillon Atwood, DDS
North State Anesthesiology
Chapel Hill, NC
336.939.6277


What Are The Levels of Sedation Dentistry?

It’s no secret that many patients don’t necessarily like going to the dentist. Many of these people have been traumatized in the past, with a painful scraping of the gums, aggressive cleaning, fear of needles or other reasons. On contrary to what you may believe, dental professionals are not out to get you and don’t hope to make your visit troubling. However, if serious damage control needs to be done to your smile in order to ensure your oral health is pristine, some drastic measures may need to be taken, and they may not be pleasant.

Sedation dentistry allows patients to feel no pain while being under a form of sedation during their procedure(s). This type of care is not offered by all dental offices. Many offices only offer a local anesthetic, which removes most of the pain felt, and/or Nitrous Oxide, a laughing gas which removes anxiety and stresses of the procedure. Our office offers a deeper sedation form that will give you the type of sedation you want.

Having a deeper form of sedation removes any bit of stress or anxiety the patient may have during his or her dental visit. It also removes any pain or uncomfortable feelings you may have during any procedure. There are different levels of sedation, the ones listed above (local anesthetics) but also a deep sleep, a restful sedation, and a relaxed sedation. Our professional anesthesiologists will work with you to ensure you feel comfortable, relaxed and content with your sedation.

Dentistry under sedation is no longer just for incredibly complicated procedures and surgeries. Our dental professionals know that even an annual cleaning can be extremely uncomfortable to some patients. Our office wants to guarantee your comfort by providing the different levels of sedation.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is the act of any dental procedure (both surgical and non-surgical) that is performed with the patient under a certain level of sedation. Stronger doses can be administered as well as lower doses depending on the complication level of the procedure. The level of sedation can also depend on the amount of sedation the patient wants, some patients will prefer to be completely “asleep” during their appointment. The dental professional will work on every aspect of the patient's mouth and will be finished when the patient “wakes up”.

In the past, dental sedation was only used for large procedures such as root canals or major tooth extractions (surgical). In today’s time, sedation dentistry can even be used for a basic cleaning, simply to relieve stress and anxiety, as well as to numb the areas that will be worked on.

What Are the Level of Sedation Dentistry?

      • Mild: This is an average form of sedation. This relaxes patients enough to reduce their anxiety incredibly. The patient remains fully awake but won’t feel any pain. Some patients feel pressure (depending on the procedure) but the pain is gone. This is a great way to be awake, but still feel relaxed during a dental visit.
      • Medium: This is the next level up and is a much heavier dosage. A sedative pill is given to the patient about an hour before the appointment and creates an extremely relaxed state of mind for the patient. In fact, many patients report not remembering the appointment or procedures performed. It will be necessary to have a friend drive you home after being under this type of sedation.
      • Deep: This is the highest level of sedation. The goal of this level is to ensure the patient is nearly “asleep” and cannot respond nor feel anything happening in the mouth or even around them. This type of sedation is usually administered through an IV in the bloodstream and will likely take longer to fade. It is recommended to have a close friend or family member around at all times to ensure the patient's safety before, during and after the procedure.

What Are the Benefits of Sedation Dentistry?

      • Reduces Anxiety: Like many patients, getting anxious before and during a dental appointment is incredibly normal. Sedation dentistry reduces and sometimes removes those anxious emotions and allows you to be comfortable during your appointment.
      • Reduces Gum & Tooth Sensitivity: Even if you don’t feel anxious during a dental appointment, it can be tough to feel comfortable during your visit if you experience tooth or gum sensitivity. It’s important for your dental professional to clean these areas and sensitivity can make this phase extremely uncomfortable. Sedation dentistry can reduce or even remove the pain of sensitive teeth and gums altogether.
      • Reduces the Gag Reflux: Another reason a patient may opt for a level of sedation during their dental appointment is to reduce their uncontrollable or sensitive gag reflux. Sometimes your dental professional may need to hold your tongue out of the way or reach back all the way to clean your teeth and gums, and it can be uncomfortable and even embarrassing if you cannot control that reflux. Do not worry, this is completely normal. Talk to your dentist about sedation dentistry.

What Are the Different Types of Sedation That Can Be Used?

      • Nitrous Oxide: Otherwise known as “laughing gas”. This type of sedation is a gas that is administered through a mouthpiece and the patient breathes it in. This method is used often because it works almost immediately and relieves the patient of any pain. It’s quite a mild level of sedation as it doesn’t actually put the patient to “sleep” but it does slightly make the patient unaware of things such as place and time.
      • Intravenous Anesthesia: This type of sedation is administered through an IV through the bloodstream. Once injected, it only takes moments for the sedation to take full effect. This is used for longer procedures as it works perfectly for bigger or more invasive appointments. The patient “wakes up” feeling as though they slept through the whole appointment. The patient may experience some drowsiness after waking up and will need a friend to drive them home safely.
      • Oral Sedation: If a patient stresses over needles, this is the best option. This is taken orally and provides a deep sedation and makes the patients feel as though they are heavy with sleep. Most patients do sleep under this sedation!

If you or a loved one is interested in Sedation Dentistry, please contact our Raleigh