Sedation Dentistry in Lorton, Woodbridge and Stafford, Virginia
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry uses medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. The type of sedation that you receive at a dentist office varies based on your anxiety level and the type of dental procedure to be done. IV sedation is also known as conscious sedation. It doesn’t fully put you to sleep, it makes you less aware of what is happening around you during your dental treatment. IV sedation is administered intravenously through a vein. Other forms of sedation are inhaled (like nitrous oxide) or are taken in pill form. At Impact Dental care we offer a free 30 minutes consultation to answer your questions about sedation.
What Types of Sedation Are Used in Dentistry?
- Inhaled minimal sedation – You breathe nitrous oxide — otherwise known as “laughing gas” — combined with oxygen through a mask that’s placed over your nose. The gas helps you relax. Your dentist can control the amount of sedation you receive, and the gas tends to wear off quickly. This is the only form of sedation where you may be able to drive yourself home after the procedure.
- Oral sedation – Depending on the total dose given, oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate. For minimal sedation, you take a pill. Typically, the pill is Halcion, which is a member of the same drug family as Valium, and it’s usually taken about an hour before the procedure. The pill will make you drowsy, although you’ll still be awake. A larger dose may be given to produce moderate sedation. This is the type of anesthesia most commonly associated with sedation dentistry. Some people become groggy enough from moderate oral sedation to fall asleep during the procedure. They usually can, though, be awakened with a gentle shake.
- IV moderate sedation – You receive the sedative drug through a vein, so it goes to work more quickly. This method allows the dentist to continually adjust the level of sedation.
- Deep sedation and general anesthesia – You will get medications that will make you either almost unconscious or totally unconscious — deep asleep — during the procedure. While you are under general anesthesia, you cannot easily be awakened until the effects of the anesthesia wear off or are reversed with medication.
Regardless of which type of sedation you receive, you also typically need a local anesthetic — numbing medication at the site where the dentist is working in the mouth — to relieve pain if the procedure causes any discomfort.
Who Can Have Sedation at the Dental Office?
Sedation is most appropriate for people with a real fear or anxiety that is preventing them from going to the dentist.
Sedation dentistry may also be appropriate for people who:
- Have a low pain threshold
- Can’t sit still in the dentist’s chair
- Have very sensitive teeth
- Have a bad gag reflex
- Need a large amount of dental work completed
Sometimes, children are given sedation if they are terrified of going to the dentist or refuse to cooperate during the visit.
Preparing for IV Sedation Dentistry at Your Northern Virginia Dentist
Your dentist at Impact Dental Care will provide you with all the instructions before your sedation visit. You will have an opportunity to ask any questions. The American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists recommends not eating or drinking anything at least eight hours before your visit or procedure. Although IV sedation will not put you to sleep, you are likely to feel pretty groggy for some time, after your procedure. It is recommended to have a friend or family member bring you to the dentist and drive you back home. Avoid scheduling anything for the rest of the day so you can rest and recover. Your dentist will give you specific instructions about medications you might need. In addition, you may have to stop taking some medicines before your visit.
During the exam you won’t be fully asleep but you will not be really be aware of what’s going on, either. You may be able to follow basic commands and will respond if the dentist touches you. You will be able to breathe on your own. If your dentist is performing a procedure that requires a local anesthetic, such as filling a cavity, the anesthetic will be given after the sedation has taken effect.