What Is Minimal Sedation Dentistry near Falls Church, VA?

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Minimal Sedation Dentistry near Falls Church, VA Explained for Patients

To understand what minimal sedation dentistry near Falls Church, VA is, it’s important to understand sedation in general. Broadly speaking, there are several different “levels” of sedation, which can be defined as follows:

Minimal Sedation – This is the bottom of the sedation spectrum. The mildest form of sedation used. You’ll be awake and aware of your surroundings, but very relaxed during the procedure we have planned.

Moderate Sedation – A step up from the above. Here, you’ll be in a state of deep relaxation and are likely to slur your words if you try to speak. Odds are that you won’t remember much about the work being done, and what you do remember will be quite hazy.

Deep Sedation – While you’re not quite unconscious at this level of sedation, you might as well be. You’re definitely not going to remember much, if anything about the work we’re doing, and will need some time to recover once the drugs start wearing off. Likely, we’ll have to gently shake you to wake you back up when the work has been completed.

General Anesthesia – Usually administered via IV, this is the deepest form of sedation there is. You’re out cold.

Potential Risks

While any form of sedation carries risks, those risks are typically minimal, and with minimal sedation dentistry near Falls Church, VA, the risks are negligible. Nonetheless, they are present and can be magnified if you are allergic to anything, if you have obstructive sleep apnea or a similar condition, or if you’re currently taking medication to treat some other condition you have.

In all of those cases, let your dentist know so that those particulars can be taken into account and planned around, and be sure to check with your doctor to be certain that there’s nothing else to be concerned about. If there is, definitely let your dentist know.

Side Effects

While there are few side effects associated with minimal sedation dentistry near Falls Church, VA, you will be fairly groggy when you come out of the procedure, and we’d recommend bringing a friend along so that person can drive you home, just to be safe.

If you’re concerned about missing work, and by extension, causing your friend to miss work to have the procedure in question performed, don’t be! We keep our office open late several days a week, so with a bit of planning, neither of you will have to miss any work at all.

Currently, our hours of operation are:

Monday: 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Tuesday: 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Wednesday: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Thursday: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Friday: 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Saturday: 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Sunday: Office closed on Sundays

Insurance Concerns

This is a big deal, and many people have questions about whether or not their dental insurance plan will pay for, or has provisions for minimal sedation dentistry near Falls Church, VA.

The answer is, it depends. Every person’s policy is different, so you’ll want to be sure to read the fine print on yours to make sure it’s going to be covered. In general though, we can say that most dental insurance plans do have at least some provision for sedation. Also, we’ve made it a priority to expand the number of insurance carriers we work with, so odds are good that we accept your insurance. At present, we accept:

  • Aetna
  • Anthem
  • Assurant
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield
  • Carefirst
  • Cigna (Total DPPO)
  • Delta Dental
  • GEHA
  • Guardian
  • Lincoln Financial Group
  • Metlife
  • Principal
  • Sun Life
  • And United Concordia (all plans, save for active military)

Don’t see your insurance company on this list? Don’t worry; there are other options available. We also accept both CareCredit and the Citi Health Flexible Monthly Payment Option, and in the event that you don’t have either of those, we can enroll you in our Platinum Membership Club which will give you big savings on most of the services we provide.


As to the particulars, in most cases, minimal sedation dentistry is accomplished orally. We give you a pill which will help you relax. Because it takes time for the medication to take effect, we ask that you plan to arrive about an hour before the work is scheduled to begin.

There are a wide variety of drugs that can be used, and the list below is by no means a comprehensive one, but here are some of the drugs that can be administered:

  • Diazepam
  • Triazolam
  • Halcion
  • Versed
  • Zaleplon
  • Lorazepam
  • And Hydroxyzine

Of course, even if you aren’t allergic to some medications, you don’t have sleep apnea, and you’re not taking medications to treat some other conditions, sometimes orally administered sedation drugs just aren’t a great choice for some people. It doesn’t happen often, but it is possible, and if that’s the case for you, then we do have other options available.

The best option is nitrous oxide, which you probably know as “laughing gas.” There’s a lot to like about laughing gas. It’s very fast-acting, and it wears off just as quickly. It also doesn’t make you as groggy as most of the pills do, so you could probably get home on your own after the procedure is completed. Just to be safe though, we’d still recommend having a friend drive you.

If you’re considering having work done, and this article didn’t answer all your questions, feel free to give us a call! We’re happy to answer any additional questions you may have.

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