Moderate Sedation is a drug-induced depression of consciousness during which patients respond purposefully to verbal commands, either alone or accompanied by a light tactile stimulation. No interventions are required to maintain a patent airway, and spontaneous ventilation is adequate. Cardiovascular function is usually maintained. Administration of moderate sedation includes parenteral, enteral, and/or combination inhalation-enteral conscious sedation 

Moderate Conscious Sedation puts patients into a sleepy state but they remain awake and conscious, maintaining the ability to breath on their own and follow the dentist’s instructions. Patients usually have little or no memory of what has occurred during their sedation appointment.


Massachusetts Sedation dentists offering moderate sedation must have additional training and must obtain special licensing from the state dental board. The sedation dentist must have the training and experience to maintain a margin of safety in the drugs and/or techniques used in order to avoid the accidental loss of patient’s consciousness.

Moderate sedation can be achieved by either inhalation (nitrous oxide), oral, or intravenous sedation. Regardless of the administration method, because sedation and general anesthesia are a continuum, it is not always possible to predict how an individual patient will respond. Hence, practitioners intending to produce a given level of sedation should be able to diagnose and manage the
physiologic consequences (rescue) for patients whose level of sedation becomes deeper than initially intended.​