The Oral Conscious Sedation Dentist

Sedation dentistry: oral conscious sedation dentistsThe sedation dentist has many tools to calm patients with dental anxiety, but one of the methods most commonly used is oral conscious sedation.

In our survey, two-thirds of dentists reported that their practices offer sedation dentistry with OCS.

“It is an excellent tool for the patient with dental fear who has not been to the dentist in years,” offered one sedation dentist. “It is a major part of my practice.”

“The regulations are overly onerous,” said a pediatric dentist. “More rules and regulations won’t prevent irresponsible behavior–it will only prevent many competent practitioners from utilizing this modality.

“I have a permit to do IV sedation in addition to oral sedation, which does not work for at least 50% of patients,” said another dentist.


Read more about sleep dentistry: Dentists Love Oral Conscious Sedation

Sedation Dentist? For Many Patients, Not During a Recession

Sedation dentist: less demand in recession economyMany patients who might see a sedation dentist are avoiding sedation dentistry for less expensive options, found this survey. Two out of three dentists say the recession has led to a decrease in demand for sleep dentistry.

This is especially true of oral conscious sedation, but also holds true for IV sedation.

“There’s also been a decrease in demand for dental implants and cosmetic dentistry,” said one dentist. “People are trying to save wherever they can,” agreed a periodontist.

Here are some further comments:

  • “All of dentistry is elective excluding a simple extraction. When times are bad and money is tight, dentistry can be delayed, including broken fillings, cleanings, crowns, etc.” (Indiana dentist)
  • “If it costs more for sedation dentistry…or anything else…patients would rather not do it or delay treatment.” (General dentist)
  • “The recession is causing patients to defer anything except what they perceive to be critical care.” (Maine dentist)
  • “Demand has stayed the same or slightly INCREASED!” (Indiana dentist)
  • “Case sizes are smaller as dental financing is not as readily available.” (Tennessee dentist)
  • This is the first time an economic slowdown/recession has ever affected our practice.” (California dentist)

Read more: Sedation Dentistry & the Recession: Less Work for the Sleep Dentist

Sedation Dentistry Costs Vary Widely

This survey found 97% of responding dentists happily offering OCS. The average fee for oral conscious sedation is about $300. Some dentists don’t charge, whereas others ask as much as $650.

A third offer IV sedation, charging about $500. But intravenous sedation fees ranged from $250-$800.

Only 6% have general anesthesia capabilities. Ranging from $320 to $1200, anesthesia costs around $700.


Here are few comments from responding dentists:

  • “We often comp the sedation fee on big cases.” (California dentist)
  • “As a dentist certified in oral and IV sedation, I find oral sedation to be of limited benefit to my more anxious patients.” (New York dentist)
  • “We charge a higher fee for smokers, where they take longer to manage.” (Kentucky dentist)
  • “It is my opinion that dental anesthesiology will help dentistry and open the way for more training and treatment by dentists.” (Dental anesthesiologist)

Read more: The Cost of Dental Sedation? Usually, a Few Hundred Dollars

A Glossary of Dental Sedation Controversy

by Jim Du Molin

Obviously you’ve heard of the recent controversy over whether general dentists should be permitted to offer conscious sedation to their patients. But do you know the ins and outs of the whole drama? Well, here’s a boiled-down version of all the warring acronyms!

ADA: You should know this acronym! The ADA is considering proposed new guidelines that would limit oral conscious sedation. Voting will take place in September. Many specialists support the new guidelines, and many general dentists oppose them. A recent Wealthy Dentist survey suggests that most general dentists don’t feel represented by the ADA; specialists, on the other hand, tend to support the ADA.

DOCS: The Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation is one of the leaders in the fight against the ADA’s proposed regulations. DOCS is the largest educator in the field of oral conscious sedation. The organization boasts over 3,000 members who have treated over one million patients through conscious sedation without incident.

CDEL: The ADA’s Council on Dental Education and Licensure, along with its Committee on Anesthesiology, is pressing the ADA to change its existing anesthesia guidelines. The organization is chaired by Dr. Stephen Young, Dean of the College of Dentistry at the University of Oklahoma.

AAOMS: The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons has been campaigning to convince state dental boards to adopt the ADA’s proposed new guidelines even before the ADA formally adopts the new guidelines. There’s even some suggestion that the organization has been misrepresenting the proposed guidelines to the states as “official” guidelines they are already required to follow.

Team1500: Even this one is an acronym – Trust for Equal Access in Medicine, a non-profit coalition funded by member dentists. Team1500 has become a major player in the conscious sedation debate. They have already submitted over 1,000 letters of protest to the ADA and Dr. Young of CDEL. The organization has also published a letter to the US Surgeon General, calling on him to intercede with the ADA.

Everyone seems to have a passionate opinion on this hot-button issue. Well, your opinion counts too! An issue like this could change the face of general dentistry in the US. Do you really want a group of self-serving specialist to decide the future of general dentistry while you stand by and watch politely?

So what can you do? Well, if you’re opposed to the new limitations, Team1500 wants your help – and, not surprisingly, they’d love some of your money too. The organization has quite a to-do list:


  • Educate state dental boards, and counter the influence of AAOMS
  • Reach out to ADA delegates who will be voting on the proposal in September
  • Show local and national news media that the proposed regulations would raise
    consumer prices and reduce access to care
  • Inform general dentists of threats to their practices
  • Continue working to ensure all segments of the population have access to quality dental care.



The Wealthy Dentist discovered in a recent survey that four out of five general dentists feel that the ADA represents special interests, not the interests of the general dentist. The ADA’s proposed limitations on oral conscious sedation have clearly alienated general dentists. The ADA is supposed to represent all dentists – and if you don’t feel they’re doing their job, it’s time to make your voice be heard. Visit theTeam15000 website to learn more about what you can do.

What do you think about the ADA’s proposed guidelines? Are specialists just jealously guarding their high-value sedation patients? Or is the ADA truly working to ensure top-quality care for dental patients? I’m eager to hear your thoughts – don’t hesitate to post your comments!

Jim Du Molin


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