Richmond Sedation Endodontist talking to patient
April 24, 2023

Do you dread going to the dentist? Does the thought of sitting in the dental chair make you anxious? You’re not alone. Dental anxiety affects millions worldwide, making even the simplest dental procedures seem daunting. Luckily, a Richmond sedation endodontist offers a solution to this problem – sedation dentistry.  

Curious to know how dental sedation came about and how it evolved? Let’s journey through the history of sedation dentistry, from its ancient origins to the modern practices used today. 

The Origins of Sedation Dentistry

Using sedatives for pain relief during dental procedures dates back to ancient times. In the early days, plants such as mandrake, opium, and alcohol were used to sedate patients during treatment. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that sedation dentistry as we know it today began to take shape.  

Nitrous Oxide and the Birth of Modern Sedation Dentistry 

Joseph Priestley, an English chemist, discovered nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, in 1772. However, it wasn’t until the mid-1800s that Horace Wells, an American dentist, first used it as a dental anesthetic. Wells discovered he could use nitrous oxide to relieve pain during dental extractions. He even underwent a tooth extraction himself to demonstrate its effectiveness. 

The Birth of Local Anesthetics

Although nitrous oxide was a breakthrough in sedation dentistry, it wasn’t always enough to provide complete pain relief. For this reason, local anesthetics were discovered in the late 1800s. Consequently, dental professionals used cocaine as the first local anesthetic in 1884.  

A safer alternative called novocaine quickly replaced cocaine due to its highly addictive nature. Since then, this new drug has become the standard anesthetic in dentistry for several decades. 

Evolution of Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry continued to evolve over the years. Today, dental professionals use several sedation methods, including oral sedation, intravenous (IV) sedation, and general anesthesia. These methods make dental procedures more comfortable and less stressful for patients, especially those with dental anxiety, phobia, or special needs. 

Looking for a Richmond Sedation Endodontist?

Commonwealth Endodontics is the only endodontic practice in Virginia with two licensed IV Sedation Certified providers. Contact us today to make an appointment.