Each year, millions of people avoid going to the dentist to get necessary dental care they need because they have a fear of the dentist. Thanks to sedation dentistry, you don’t have to avoid the dentist. There is a variety of techniques that will help alleviate anxiety and discomfort during exams and treatment. Here are five common questions patients ask about sedation dentistry and why you should consider your options before your next appointment. Why get sedation dentistry? Sedation dentistry benefits patients will all kinds of fears and anxiety related to the dentist. Some patients may have minor fear or discomfort when sitting in the treatment chair. Or they have a sensitive gag reflex and need something to relax them. Others may have a fear of needles, dental tools and procedures or have had a traumatic experience with another dentist and need even more care. Patients who don’t necessarily have a fear of the dentist but are facing a lengthy procedure or treatment may want something to keep them comfortable for a long period of time. What are my sedation options? There are three forms of sedation that can help with a variety of scenarios. They are: IV sedation, oral sedation and nitrous oxide. What is IV sedation? IV conscious sedation is reserved for patients who have significant anxiety or complicated procedures. An IV is inserted into your arm, and you will be put into a mild or moderate state of relaxation but still awake. What is oral sedation? Oral conscious sedation is for patients who have minor anxieties or minor procedures. You are given a pill to take shortly before the procedure. This puts you in a relaxed, semi-conscious state. You will be awake and calm during the procedure but probably won’t have recollection of the procedure once it’s over. What is nitrous oxide? Nitrous oxide is commonly known as laughing gas. It’s a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen and administered through a mask over the nose. This is a popular choice as once the mask is removed, the effects wear off quickly. Contact our Northern Virginia Dentists Please call 703-214-3182 to schedule an appointment at Arlington Dental Aesthetics or 703-214-3186 for an appointment at South Riding Smiles. We serve patients in Arlington, South Riding and throughout Northern Virginia.