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It’s no secret that most people don’t like to go to the dentist, but for some, the fear of time in the treatment chair can be so bad and so extreme that people will actually avoid getting treatments they need, just to avoid it. They’d literally rather live with the pain of a toothache or other conditions than have to endure the treatment to make the problem go away.
We understand that fear, which is one of the reasons we offer oral sedation dentistry near Falls Church, VA, and while it’s certainly effective at reducing or outright eliminating that anxiety, fear isn’t the only reason we sedate patients.
There are actually a number of circumstances where oral sedation dentistry near Falls Church, VA makes sense. Obviously, some procedures would push a patient’s pain level beyond what they can tolerate. In other cases, a patient might have a very strong gag reflex, have difficulty getting or staying numb, or be especially prone to jumping or moving suddenly in response to the sounds of the dental equipment in use.
Whatever the specific reason, we take the comfort of our patients very seriously, and any time it makes sense to do so, we’ll administer the appropriate form of sedation that allows us to get the work done while keeping our patients relaxed and making the procedure as painless as possible.
Sedation can take many forms, and broadly speaking, can be broken into categories as follows:
Minimal Sedation – This is the mildest form of sedation available, and as such, is one of the most common form of oral sedation dentistry near Falls Church, VA. You’ll find yourself very relaxed but will remain awake for the procedure.
Moderate Sedation – Here, you will find yourself deeply relaxed, and if you try to speak, you may find that your words are slurred. Odds are good that even though you’re awake, you won’t remember many details about whatever work we’re doing for you.
Deep Sedation – At this level, you’re almost, but not quite unconscious. You won’t remember a thing about the work you’re having done and will need to either be gently shaken awake afterward or given some time to come around on your own.
General Anesthesia – This is the deepest form of anesthesia, almost always administered via IV. In a nutshell, you’re out like a light.
We can utilize oral sedation dentistry near Falls Church, VA to sedate you to various levels by varying the dosage of the medication given, and we’ll ask that you come to our office about an hour before your procedure is scheduled to begin so we can administer the medication and give it time to begin taking effect. In addition to the medication itself, we’ll also use a numbing agent to numb the area we’ll be working on, which will give you an added layer of protection and comfort.
There are a variety of medications we can use when performing oral sedation dentistry near Falls Church, VA, including (but not limited to):
Any type of sedation carries some risk, although those risks are generally slight. While oral sedation dentistry near Falls Church, VA is fairly straightforward, there are a few other factors to consider. For instance, if you’re taking other medications for any reason, be sure to let your dentist know, and check with your doctor too, to be sure that sedation is safe for you.
In some instances, the medication you’re on may interact badly with one or more of the drugs mentioned earlier, and knowing what medications you’re taking, the dentist can make changes as appropriate to avoid a bad drug interaction.
Also, if you suffer from sleep apnea or a related condition, be sure to let your dentist know about it, and that can be taken into account.
Another thing to consider if you’re having oral sedation dentistry work done near Falls Church, VA is that even when the drugs wear off, you’re probably going to be groggy, so it’s best if you have someone come with you so they can drive you home once the procedure has been completed.
That’s something that gives people pause, because most of the time when people think about going to the dentist, they think about having to take time off from work to do it. If you’re being sedated to the point where you need someone to drive you home, by extension, that means asking someone else to miss work too.
Not to worry, we’ve got you covered! We keep our office open late several days a week for that very reason. We know what a pain it is to have to schedule time off for just yourself, let alone for a second person, and we’ve worked hard to make sure you don’t have to. Currently, our hours of operation are as follows:
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
This is another issue that gives some people pause. The good news is that most dental insurance plans do provide sedation and anesthesia coverage. Even better, our office has worked diligently to expand the number of insurance carriers we work with. As of right now, we accept the following plans:
If you don’t see your insurance company on the list, don’t worry. We also accept both CareCredit and the Citi Health Flexible Monthly Payment Option, and if you don’t have either of those, we can enroll you in our Platinum Membership Program which offers significant savings on most of the services we provide. Our goal is to make your time with us as painless as possible, both to you, physically, and to your bank account!
Other than what we mentioned before about the possibility of the drug used in sedation interacting badly with a medication you’re currently taking to treat an existing condition, there are few side effects to worry about, other than the grogginess you’ll feel as the medication begins to wear off.
Even so, if you are allergic to certain medications, it’s important to let the dentist know so your allergy can be taken into account when planning the procedure and deciding which drug to administer.
If for whatever reason oral sedation just isn’t an option for you, there are other options available, the most common of which is nitrous oxide, which you probably know by its slang term “laughing gas.”
Laughing gas has a lot of attractive features. It’s very fast acting, and it wears off just as quickly. Even better, it won’t leave you feeling nearly as groggy when it wears off as orally administered medications tend to, which means you’ll likely be able to get home by yourself. It’s not appropriate in all circumstances, but it can be a viable alternative in a fair number of instances.
The bottom line is, your oral health is important. Don’t let your gag reflex, your problems getting or staying numb, or your fear of the treatment chair keep you from getting needed work done. We’ll do everything in our power to make sure you’re comfortable, and that your experience is as pain-free as we can make it, so you can enjoy excellent oral health and get the smile you’ve always dreamed of having.
If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to call or stop by our office. We’ll answer all your questions and try to put your mind at ease. After all, we don’t want to be just the office you visit one time to have a particular problem addressed; we want to be your dentist for life, so we’ll work hard to keep you comfortable!