Abstract Objectives. This study evaluated sublingual administration of triazolam for preoperative sedation in dental outpatients. Study design. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study compared 0.25 mg sublingual triazolam, 0.25 mg oral triazolam, and placebo administered 1 hour before oral surgery. Results. Sublingual triazolam resulted in significantly less anxiety and pain at 15 minutes intraoperatively than both oral triazolam and placebo ( p < 0.05). Patients' global evaluation of the efficacy of sedation ranked sublingual triazolam as significantly more efficacious than placebo ( p < 0.05) with oral triazolam intermediate between the two. No difference was demonstrated in the rate of recovery or incidence of side effects between the two drug groups. Plasma triazolam levels were higher after sublingual administration during and after the surgical procedure. Conclusions. These results indicate that sublingual triazolam results in greater anxiolytic activity and less pain perception than oral administration as a result of greater plasma drug levels and may be useful as an alternative for nonparenteral outpatient sedation.