What is Sedation Dentistry?


It has become very popular for dental practices to use the terms "sleep dentistry" and "sedation dentistry". Sleep or sedation dentistry have different meanings to dentists and patients.

Many patients do not know that there are different levels of training that dentists are required to obtain in order to provide basic to advanced levels of sedation and anesthesia. Dentists can provide oral sedation (pills), conscious sedation (intravenous medications), or general anesthesia (deep sleep) provided they are properly trained and licensed.


Only a few select dentists in Michigan have the advanced training to provide complete general anesthesia.  Dr. Palmer is both a dentist as well as a licensed anesthesiologist with over 35 years experience including 17 years hospital-based experience.   He has the expertise to help you choose which option is best for you.



oralsedationOral Sedation is the most common form of "sleep" dentistry.  It is advertised as "sleep dentistry", "conscious sedation" and "oral sedation".  This type of sedation involves taking a pill that helps the patient relax.

Contrary to advertised claims, patients are NOT ASLEEP with oral sedation. Patients remain conscious throughout the procedure.  The medication simply relaxes the patient.

These oral medications are only effective in individuals that are mildly anxious. Very anxious, patients prone to gagging, phobic patients and patients with special needs rarely achieve their desired level of comfort. Oral sedation can actually make an anxious patient more uncooperative.

A dentist only needs minimal course work (2 days training in Michigan) to provide oral sedation in their practice.



I_V_SedationA few dentists are trained to provide IV Sedation for their patients. IV sedation can provide a much better experience for the patient because medications are delivered directly to the bloodstream resulting in the quick onset of a relaxed state.

As with oral sedation patients are NOT ASLEEP.  However, intravenous sedatives help patients to get into such a relaxed state that they often do not remember the procedure but at the same time are still able to respond to requests from their dentist.  Common names for I.V. Sedation are; Sleep Sedation, Sleep Dentistry and Conscious Sedation.

Dentists who provide IV Sedation in Michigan are required to take 2 and a half days course work and complete 40 supervised hours working with patients.  However, they are not required to be a licensed anesthesiologist.



general_anesthesiaGeneral Anesthesia is the only option where the patient can be considered COMPLETELY ASLEEP.  I.V. medications and/or vapors are administered  and the patient is monitored by hospital-grade equipment throughout the procedure. Patients are asleep and stress-free during procedures. Patients never feel, hear or remember anything during the procedure.

Throughout Michigan only an extremely small number of dentists have residency training, hospital experience, knowledge of medications, and are licensed to provide patients with general anesthesia.  Dentists must complete a 1 year hospital-based anesthesia residency to administer general anesthesia.  Dr. Palmer did a 3 year hospital-based residency and has over 17 years hospital experience having worked with local hospitals and the Medical College of Ohio Hospital. 

Dr. Palmer is qualified to provide all of above options, based on your needs. As an experienced dentist/anesthesiologist, he will help you decide which option is best for you.


  • "I don't worry about dental visits anymore! My boys feel comfortable and happy with Dr. P. He's great with kids with special needs... and great with moms who worry a lot!"
    Elizabeth C
    Mom of two boys with autism
  • The IV sedation provided by Dr. Palmer makes caring for our children's dental needs less stressful for them and for us. Without the professional and understanding support of Dr. Palmer and his staff we are not sure how we would care for our children's dental needs.
    Mr. & Mrs. B - Parents of two Children with Autism

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