At Elite Smiles Dental, we provide outstanding ethical dental care in a patient-centered environment with a gentle touch. Learn more about our cosmetic dentistry, teeth whitening, and sedation dentistry services in Leesburg, VA.
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What's it Like?
Read on to learn about the medications used, laughing gas, recovery, comfort, financial arrangements and more!
AS COMFORTABLE AS POSSIBLE
When you are afraid, your threshold for pain is much lower. You become hypersensitive to every sensation, prick, and noise. Fear and anxiety trigger the release of certain chemicals in your brain which put your “fight or flight” instincts on high alert. You anticipate that something is going to hurt and so you tense your muscles, even if it is subconsciously. Patients who are afraid of the dentist often experience more pain during and after their procedure. However that can virtually be eliminated with oral sedation dentistry! The whole purpose of a sedation appointment is to make you as comfortable and relaxed as possible. It allows you to let your guard down, relax both your mind and body, and focus on feeling peaceful rather than anxious. Your apprehension and hypersensitivity to pain melts away.
Ask yourself – is sedation dentistry right for me?
HOW 'DEEP' WILL I GO? ARE THERE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF SEDATION?
There are different levels of sedation, even with oral medications. With anxiolysis, the lightest level of sedation, you usually take a single dose on the day of your appointment. To attain a longer and more comfortable experience you may opt for oral conscious sedation dentistry where unique protocols will be chosen for your unique needs and medical history.
HOURS WILL SEEM LIKE MINUTES
Once you are completely relaxed and comfortable, your sedation dentist will be able to work quickly and efficiently to perform larger amounts of dentistry in fewer visits. And since sedation medications have an amnesic effect, you'll have very little, if any, memory of the sights, smells or sounds of your visit – making your visit feel short and sweet.
RECOVERY IS A DREAM
When your treatment is complete you may be a bit wobbly while the medications work their way out of your system but you will be able to walk. You will need your companion to take you home and stay with you until you're fully recovered. Your sedation dentist will give you simple instructions on when and how much you should eat or drink and other important information.
You'll be amazed at how much can be accomplished in such a seemingly short period of time, while you were totally relaxed, and completely comfortable. And best of all, the very next day you will feel fantastic.
TURN BACK THE HANDS OF TIME
Whether it's a broken tooth that needs to be fixed, yellow teeth that need to be whitened, missing teeth that need to be replaced, or pain that needs to be eliminated, Sedation Dentistry can help you regain your health and have the fabulous smile you've always wanted. In fact, any dental procedure can be performed while you are sedated – including root canal, fillings, crowns, gum work and cleanings. You can have the smile you want, painlessly.
ACCOMMODATING YOUR BUDGET & INSURANCE
Your Sedation Dentist will work with you to maximize your insurance benefits and make convenient financial arrangements that will be as comfortable as Sedation Dentistry.
Each Sedation Dentist makes unique arrangements and choices regarding insurance. Please contact any of our Sedation Dentists in your area for more information.
UNDERSTANDING THE MEDICATIONS
Your dentist will decide which medications are appropriate for your treatment plan. Being familiar with the different drugs available can also be helpful for you. There are several common medications prescribed, including, but not limited to Valium®, Halcion®, Sonata®, Ativan®, Vistaril®, and Versed®. With the exception of Vistaril®, which is an antihistamine, and Sonata®, which is a pyrazolopyrimidine, they all belong to a class of medications called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, agitation, seizures, and muscle spasms. Taken in small doses, they are highly effective at relieving the above mentioned conditions. Each medication’s effects last for different amounts of time (called a half–life), so your dentist will determine which one(s) are best for your particular needs.
Valium® is the most widely recognized drug in the group. It has been around since the 1960’s and is a well known and time–tested sedative with amnesic properties. Valium® has a longer half–life than some of the other medications, so it is particularly useful for appointments where extensive dentistry is being performed.
Halcion® is most well known for the treatment of insomnia. It is highly effective when used in oral sedation protocols, and if deemed appropriate by your dentist, can be used in conjunction with an antihistamine like Vistaril® during your appointment. Much like Valium®, it is a popular choice for many dentists because of its amnesic properties and proven effectiveness. However, it has a shorter half–life than Valium® and is typically used for shorter appointments.
Sonata® is similar to Halcion® in that it is also commonly used for the treatment of insomnia. It is important to remember though that you are not intended to sleep through your oral sedation appointment. The goal is simply to be relaxed and comfortable throughout the procedure.
Ativan® is commonly prescribed for the treatment of anxiety. It possesses many of the desirable effects of other benzodiazepines with amnesic properties. It is an effective sedative with a medium length half–life and is useful for appointments that are longer than two hours.
Vistaril® while classified as an antihistamine, has also been shown to have anxiolytic (anti–anxiety) effects. It works well in conjunction with many of the benzodiazepines but has no amnesic properties.
Versed® has the shortest half–life of all of the benzodiazepines, lasting about an hour, and making it ideal for short appointments or simple procedures. It has many of the same anxiolytic and amnesic benefits of other benzodiazepines, but is less commonly used because of its duration.
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON SIDE EFFECTS OF THE MEDICATIONS?
Retrograde Amnesia or little to no memory —Many of the medications have an amnesic effect. Patients often remember little–to–nothing of their time in the dental chair by the next day.
Less Post–Operative Soreness—Fear can make your threshold for pain much lower by triggering the release of certain chemicals in the brain, like adrenaline, which put "fight or flight" instincts on high alert. Anticipation can cause muscle tension, even if it is subconsciously, leading to additional soreness post–treatment. With sedation, apprehension and hypersensitivity to pain is virtually eliminated, thus reducing the likelihood and severity of post–operative discomfort.
Dry Mouth—The sedatives administered during a sedation appointment decrease salivary flow, making it easier for the dentist to do his/her best work!
IS THIS DIFFERENT THAN TAKING VALIUM® BEFORE MY APPOINTMENT?
If you have taken Valium® in the past for dental treatment, than you are already aware of some of the potential benefits of oral sedation. However, there is more to sedation dentistry then just Valium®. Countless years of research have been dedicated to studying and finding methods and new medications to alleviate pain and anxiety since Valium’s® arrival on the market in 1960’s. Additionally, there are many other components of sedation dentistry that are important that make a visit to the dentist safer and more comfortable including monitoring, benzodiazepine reversal agents, patient health history intakes, and drug–drug interaction/contraindication screening. Providing optimum sedation through DOCS’ safe and predictable sedation protocols enables sedation dentists to provide higher quality care to their patients.
WHAT ABOUT MY OTHER MEDICATIONS, ARE THERE INTERACTIONS?
Sedation medications are chosen based on an individual’s medical history. Many sedation dentists use sophisticated dental–specific drug interaction software that automatically cross–checks your medications (even herbal and nutritional supplements) with sedative medications. In addition to a thorough medical history, drug interaction screening and patient monitoring, you’re ensured oral sedation dentistry is completed safely and effectively.
WHAT ABOUT LAUGHING GAS (NITROUS OXIDE)?
Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is often a regular part of sedation treatments. It has been used by dentists for nearly 100 years to alleviate pain and some anxiety. It is an excellent analgesic (pain reliever), but a less effective anxiolytic (anti–anxiety) medication. It is administered through a nasal hood, which is similar to a small cup placed over your nose. It is extremely safe because it is mixed directly with oxygen to provide you with a feeling of euphoria. You may experience tingling fingers and numb lips from the use of nitrous oxide. In combination with the use of an oral sedative, it is a fantastic adjunct that allows your dentist to be able to fine tune the exact amount of sedation needed to provide you with the best possible experience.