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

Dentists Love Oral Conscious Sedation Dentistry

Survey Finds OCS a Top Priority among Dentists

In our most recent survey, we asked dentists if they offer their patients oral conscious sedation. Two out of three dentists reported that their dental practices offer OCS. A quarter of dentists don’t feel comfortable offering sedation. And 8% said that they wished they were able to offer OCS, but regulations in their state made it too difficult to implement in their practice.Oral Conscious Sedation Dentistry

When it comes to sedation, urban dentists are the most conservative, and rural dentists the most liberal. Rural dentists are most likely to offer sedation. In addition, urban dentists were most likely to wish they were able to offer oral conscious sedation.

Gender differences were minimal, but still significant. Female dentists were more likely to feel uncomfortable offering OCS than their male colleagues. In addition, male dentists are more likely to offer OCS at their practices.

“Oral conscious sedation is an excellent tool for the fearful patient that has not been to the dentist in years,” commented a New Jersey dentist. “The regulations are overly onerous. More rules and regulations won’t prevent irresponsible behavior–it will only prevent many competent practitioners from utilizing this modality,” complained a Maryland pediatric dentist. “I think the training provided by DOCS (Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation) is both adequate and excellent. I oppose the new regulations proposed by the ADA,” wrote a Michigan dentist.

Read the full oral conscious sedation survey results.

Are You Sleeping Through the Oral Conscious Sedation Debate?

by Jim Du Molin

By now I would hope you’re aware of the raging debate on the issue of oral conscious sedation. (You can catch up by reading my editorial on the subject.) In a nutshell, the ADA wants to limit conscious sedation by general dentists.

The doctors’ group Team 1500 has been fighting the ADA on this issue. The organization has been praised by acting US Surgeon General Dr. Kenneth Moritsugu, who commended the group for its “dedication to making quality healthcare available to all Americans.”

Moreover, the Academy of General Dentistry featured Team 1500 as the lead item on its website and newsletter. AGD President Dr. Bruce DeGinder wrote, “The Academy of General Dentistry is likewise dedicated to making quality healthcare available to all Americans.”

Team 1500 can explain the situation better than I can, so I’m going to let them do the talking this week. The following article was written by the group’s director.

Are the ADA and AGD the Secret Puppet Masters of Team 1500?

By Dean Rotbart, Director

I had a contentious phone conversation this past week with a member of the American Dental Association’s Council on Dental Education and Licensure, also known as CDEL.

It is CDEL that is recommending a major overhaul of the ADA’s existing guidelines pertaining to the practice of oral conscious sedation (OCS) – changes that we at Team 1500 believe are wholly unnecessary and designed primarily to protect the financial turf of oral surgeons, dental anesthesiologists and other specialists.

This CDEL member made it clear from the start that he doesn’t respect me or Team 1500. His contention was that we are working outside the established systems and are using questionable methods to promote our cause.

Our nearly 20-minute phone conversation followed CDEL’s meeting in Chicago late last month to consider the newly proposed guidelines that were submitted to CDEL by its Committee on Anesthesiology, also known as Committee H.

I had already discovered from another CDEL member that CDEL mostly – if not entirely – endorsed the recommendations that Committee H presented to CDEL’s 16 members. I wanted to confirm my facts and try to understand what rationale CDEL was using for proposing radical changes to the very same guidelines that the ADA’s own House of Delegates had praised in the fall of 2005 for their “remarkable safety record.”

There was more heat than light generated during our conversation.

The CDEL dentist, in particular, presented me with this false syllogism: Since most of Team 1500’s many donors and thousands of supporters also are members of the independent Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation (DOCS), then really it is DOCS who has been harassing CDEL, the ADA and others who are promulgating the new regulations.

What a non sequitur!

As I pointed out, those who are most opposed to the ADA’s proposed overhaul of the OCS guidelines are ALSO members of the ADA and Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). So in fact, if the CDEL member’s logic were correct, it is the ADA and AGD – not DOCS – that are actually pulling the strings of Team 1500.

Trying to trivialize the thousand-plus dentists who at Team 1500’s suggestion wrote the ADA to protest CDEL’s proposals by suggesting they are a small group of self-interested dentists is the pot calling the kettle black.

Read the conclusion of this story or help Team 1500.

Share your own thoughts on the issue of oral conscious sedation by leaving a post. This is a major debate in dentistry today, and I’m curious to know where you stand!

Jim Du Molin

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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