If you suffer from dental fear and anxiety, every dental appointment can be an uncomfortable experience. Even worse, you may be postponing the treatment you urgently need. Avoiding necessary dental procedures can lead to serious oral health issues and more extensive, expensive, and possibly more painful treatments in the future. Sedation dentistry is a safe and easy way to help you relax during your dental treatment and get the help you need.
To learn more about our sedation dentistry options, call us today. If you live in or near the Arlington, Virginia, area, call Arlington Dental Aesthetics at 703-527-1020. For patients in the South Riding region or surrounding communities, please call 703-327-7705.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry simply allows patients to relax while undergoing dental procedures with our team at Arlington Dental Aesthetics and South Riding Smiles. Sedation enables patients to overcome various levels of anxiety, all the way up to phobia about even visiting the dentist. Plus, sedation allows you to group various procedures into a single office visit, making it a better use of your time. And in the end, you have little or no recollection about your visit.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation and pain relief are not the same things. At Arlington Dental Aesthetics and South Riding Smiles, we offer sedation to help patients deal with strong feelings of fear and anxiety that arise when they visit the dentist. After receiving sedation and successfully completing their appointment, patients often change the entire way they view dental appointments going forward. Sedation could be a great option if you:
- Have difficulty overcoming anxiety about the dentist
- Have a low pain threshold
- Have very sensitive teeth
- Have a very strong gag reflex
- Need a large amount of work done
Once you are sedated and comfortable, we then properly numb, or anesthetize, the area we are working on, ensuring that your procedure is pain-free.
Types of Sedation Dentistry We Offer
At Arlington Dental Aesthetics and South Riding Smiles, we want to help you get the healthy, beautiful smile you deserve in a safe and comfortable environment. If you suffer from a fear of the dentist, we offer a variety of sedation options to help calm your nerves and ease your anxiety:
- Oral Sedation: For oral conscious sedation, we will provide you with a pill to take shortly before your procedure which will place you in a relaxed, semi-conscious state. You will remain awake and calm during the procedure, but you will most likely have no recollection of the procedure once it is complete.
- Nitrous oxide: Commonly known as laughing gas, the nitrous oxide used to make your dental visit more comfortable is actually a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. During this process, you breathe the gas through a mask placed over your nose and feel the soothing effect very quickly. Nitrous oxide allows you to remain calm and relaxed during your treatment while still being able to remain conscious and aware. Once the mask is removed and you are no longer inhaling the gas, the effects of nitrous oxide will wear off quickly.
- IV Sedation: This type of sedation is usually reserved for more complicated procedures or for patients who are undergoing multiple procedures simultaneously. By gently inserting an IV into your arm, our experienced sedation dentists can place you into a mild or moderate state of relaxation. You will be awake and relaxed. During IV sedation, you will be monitored closely at all times to ensure optimum levels of safety.
Is Sedation Dentistry Safe? Are There Side Effects?
Oral sedation has an amnestic effect. While technically a side effect, most patients love this benefit because they have no recollection of their visit to our offices or of their procedure. Oral sedatives can also cause dry mouth, headaches, dizziness, and occasional nausea, but these pass quickly.
The biggest risk with IV sedation is over-sedation. Reaching too deep a level of sedation can be dangerous for medically compromised patients. Over-sedation can also lead to respiratory depression. Continual monitoring of the patient’s vital signs mitigates these risks. That’s why an anesthesiologist handles all of our IV sedation patients at Arlington Dental Aesthetics and South Riding Smiles.
Nitrous oxide can create pressure changes in the middle ear and in the intestines. This can lead to short-term pain, but this is a very rare reaction. In the vast majority of cases, nitrous oxide is very safe and very effective for alleviating your anxiety.
Can You Feel Any Pain During Sedation Dentistry?
There is a little misconception here. Sedation is not anesthesia. Sedation has the goal of helping the patient overcome his or her anxiety or fear that they associate with the dentist. Sedation has the pleasant side benefit of usually also creating an amnesia-like effect, so the patient has little or no memory of their appointment.
Anesthesia is what keeps you comfortable and pain-free. Modern dental anesthesia ensures our patients at Arlington Dental Aesthetics and South Riding Smiles don’t feel anything during any of our treatments.
Is There Recovery After Dental Sedation?
There isn’t any “recovery” from any of our three sedation options at Arlington Dental Aesthetics and South Riding Smiles. But you will need some planning, depending upon the type of sedation you choose.
If you have nitrous oxide to take the edge off, as soon as the mask is removed the effects wear off almost instantly. That means you’re fully capable of safely driving yourself home after your appointment.
If you opt for oral sedation or IV sedation, however, you’ll need to arrange to have someone drive you home. That’s because the effects of these two sedation options can last from two to four hours after your appointment. With both of these options, you are not allowed to drive a car for 12 hours afterward.
How Much Does Dental Sedation Cost?
Our three different options for dental sedation each add different costs to your procedure. These can vary depending upon your insurance coverage. Nitrous oxide and oral sedation cost less than IV sedation. Your costs also vary depending upon the amount of time you are sedated. If you give us a call and tell us what procedure you’re considering, we can give you an idea of how much sedation will add to your costs.
Does Dental Insurance Cover Sedation?
Unfortunately, standard dental plans do not cover sedation expenses, despite their proven benefits in allowing millions of Americans to have the anxiety removed from their sessions at their dentist. Dental plans treat sedation as a “non-essential dental procedure” and do not cover it.
Is There a Sedation Dentist Near Me?
If you live in the Arlington or South Riding areas of Virginia, our sedation dentists can help calm your nerves and provide you with the safe, comfortable, and exceptional quality of dental care you deserve. To contact Arlington Dental Aesthetics, please call 703-527-1020 to schedule a visit. To book an appointment at South Riding Smiles, call 703-327-7705.