Dental anxiety is more common than you might think. Many people put off important dental treatments due to these fears. Regardless of the reason for your anxiety, allowing these fears to prevent you from going to the dentist is a serious issue. By avoiding regular dental checkups and treatments, you place yourself at risk of vastly more serious oral health problems that may require extensive and costly procedures down the road.
Sedation dentistry is a great way to help you get past dental anxiety so that you can undergo these important treatments and maintain excellent oral health. At Arlington Dental Aesthetics and South Riding Smiles, we offer a variety of sedation dentistry options to ensure you we can meet your unique needs.
Who Can Benefit from Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is typically appropriate for anyone who has serious anxiety that prevents them from going to the dentist. In general, you may benefit from sedation dentistry if you:
- Have had a bad prior dental experience that is preventing you from going back to the dentist
- Have sensitive oral nerves
- Have a general anxiety disorder
- Have a phobia related to dental procedures
- Don’t respond well to local anesthetic
- Have a small mouth that becomes very sore during dental treatments
- Are undergoing several procedures at one time
- Have a low pain threshold
- Struggle to sit still in the dentist’s chair
- Have an active gag reflex
- Are undergoing an extensive dental procedure such as a tooth extraction, root canal or placement of a dental implant
When Should I Consider Sedation Dentistry?
When considering whether to undergo dental sedation, think about the procedure being performed. While it’s possible to use sedation dentistry for routine treatments such as cleanings, this typically only occurs in cases where your anxiety is so extreme that you would avoid this routine dental care without the assistance of sedation.
If you require a more serious treatment, ask yourself the following questions:
- Will I avoid getting this treatment without dental sedation?
- Will I be more comfortable during my treatment if dental sedation is provided?
If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” then you should most likely talk to our dentists about including sedation dentistry with your procedure. Ignoring issues such as cavities, cracked or fractured teeth, gum disease, missing teeth and other dental problems will put you at risk for more serious oral health conditions down the road. If sedation dentistry will ensure that you receive these important treatments before the problem becomes more severe, then you should definitely ask our dentists whether sedation would be appropriate during your procedure.
Sedation Dentistry Options We Offer
At Arlington Dental Aesthetics and South Riding Smiles, we offer the following sedation dentistry options:
- Nitrous oxide – Nitrous oxide gas can be administered through a mask throughout your procedure. You will experience its soothing effects quickly, allowing you to remain calm and relaxed while our dentists provide the care you need. You will remain conscious during your treatment, and the effects of the nitrous oxide gas will wear off very quickly once it is no longer being administered.
- Oral conscious sedation – You will take a pill shortly before your procedure. During your treatment, you will be in a relaxed, semi-conscious state. You’ll be able to respond to the prompts of our dentists, but you won’t have any recollection of the procedure afterwards. You’ll simply wake up feeling relaxed and refreshed.
- IV sedation – A powerful sedative will be administered through an IV tube. You will be monitored throughout your procedure to ensure optimal levels of safety.
The right sedation option for you will depend on your unique needs and the extent of your dental anxiety. If you are undergoing a relatively minor treatment, nitrous oxide will probably be an effective option. If you have more severe anxiety or are afraid of needles, you may want to consider oral conscious sedation. IV sedation is typically recommended only in situations where you are undergoing a very extensive procedure or multiple treatments at once.
Contact our Northern Virginia Dentists
Please contact us to find out whether sedation dentistry may be right for you. Call 703-527-1020 to schedule an appointment at Arlington Dental Aesthetics or 703-327-7705 to schedule an appointment at South Riding Smiles. We serve patients in Arlington, South Riding and throughout Northern Virginia.