If you have an upcoming cosmetic or general dental procedure, you may be mulling over whether to undergo sedation. Sedation is available for most dental procedures and can be particularly useful if you have a dental phobia, a strong gag reflex or a medical condition, such as cerebral palsy, that impacts your muscle control. There are a few types of sedation that are commonly used in general and cosmetic dentistry, so you can choose the type of sedation you're most comfortable with. Here's an overview of three common dental sedation methods:

The Oral Method

This type of sedation can be taken at home just before your procedure. It's available in tablet form and is the only type of sedation that doesn't have to be administered in the dentist's office, so it's ideal if you want to use sedation to combat a dental phobia. You won't be able to drive after taking the sedative and may feel drowsy for a few hours, so you'll need to have a friend or family member escort you to and from your appointment.

The Inhalation Method

This is a fast-acting form of sedation that's given just before your procedure. You dentist will administer the sedation, which involves inhaling nitrous oxide, in incremental doses to ensure you receive just the right amount for the length of your procedure. This means you won't be left feeling drowsy when you leave the dentist's office, so it's a good option if you have to work directly after your dental treatment.

The Intravenous Method

If you have a strong gag reflex, intravenous sedation may be the right option for you as it provides the deepest level of sedation possible for a dental procedure. The effects of this type of sedation can last for several hours after your procedure, so you'll need to ask someone to escort you home. Due to the drugs used, this type of sedation may not be suitable for those taking certain prescription medications or patients with certain medical conditions, such as glaucoma. If intravenous sedation is suitable, your dentist will administer it through a small catheter placed in a vein in your arm or hand. The sedation takes effect right away and you may not remember having any dental work carried out. If you'd like to have someone you know present while you are under sedation, this can be agreed with your dentist beforehand.

Your dentist can discuss the pros and cons of sedation for the specific procedure you'll be undergoing, so if you feel you'd benefit from sedation, speak to your dentist ahead of your planned treatment.