Sedation dentistry is a great choice for people who need to visit the dentist but are afraid to do so. By using anti-anxiety and pain relieving medications, dentists can keep these fearful patients calm and relaxed long enough to complete their procedures.
While this is no doubt good news for people with this fear, sedation dentistry can get costly very quickly. Here is a breakdown of the costs for different types of sedation medication, as well as some things to keep in mind when considering it.
Nitrous oxide (a.k.a. “laughing gas)” is the most affordable form of sedation available. While prices will vary from location to location, most dentists will charge somewhere between $25 and $100—with an average cost of about $70.
The exact price for oral sedation will vary based on how much medication you need and the brand that’s used. Light sedation can range from between $100 to $500, while heavier sedation may cost you a bit more. If you have the option, go for generic medication over name brand drugs—their active ingredients and effectiveness are identical but will probably cost considerably less.
IV injections are normally more expensive than nitrous oxide or oral sedation for a few reasons. For one, the medications used a more powerful and cost more to manufacture. Additionally, administering IV injections requires additional training and certification for dentists, and the cost of those will factor into the total price for the drugs. On average, this form of sedation will cost between $500 and $700, with the actual price depending on how much medication is necessary for the procedure.
General anesthesia will cost the most out of all forms of sedation. Fortunately, it’s typically not required for anything other than major oral surgery. When used, it’s not uncommon for the cost to rise above $1,000, since it requires a trained anesthesiologist to administer.
Things to Consider
While some insurance plans will cover certain forms of sedation, especially nitrous oxide, many of the stronger forms may not be covered by your healthcare policy. So, when considering the financial aspects of sedation dentistry, keep in mind that you will probably have to pay for the medication out of pocket. For some people, this won’t be an issue, but for others, it can be prohibitively expensive.