The aim of this study was to assess the need and demand for sedation or general anesthesia (GA) for dentistry in the Canadian adult population. A national telephone survey of 1101 Canadians found that 9.8% were somewhat afraid of dental treatment, with another 5.5% having a high level of fear. Fear or anxiety was the reason why 7.6% had ever missed, cancelled, or avoided a dental appointment. Of those with high fear, 49.2% had avoided a dental appointment at some point because of fear or anxiety as opposed to only 5.2% from the no or low fear group. Regarding demand, 12.4% were definitely interested in sedation or GA for their dentistry and 42.3% were interested depending on cost. Of those with high fear, 31.1% were definitely interested, with 54.1% interested depending on cost. In a hypothetical situation where endodontics was required because of a severe toothache, 12.7% reported high fear. This decreased to 5.4% if sedation or GA were available. For this procedure, 20.4% were definitely interested in sedation or GA, and another 46.1% were interested depending on cost. The prevalence of, and preference for, sedation or GA was assessed for specific dental procedures. The proportion of the population with a preference for sedation or GA was 7.2% for cleaning, 18% for fillings or crowns, 54.7% for endodontics, 68.2% for periodontal surgery, and 46.5% for extraction. For each procedure, the proportion expressing a preference for sedation or GA was significantly greater than the proportion having received treatment with sedation or GA (P < 0.001). In conclusion, this study demonstrates that there is significant need and demand for sedation and GA in the Canadian adult population.