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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How Does it Work?
What is oral sedation dentistry?
You may hear it referred to as “comfortable” or “relaxation” dentistry, the terms describe the feelings most patients experience during their sedation dentistry appointments. The use of sedative medications can help make you more comfortable so the dentist and his team can work more effectively, accomplishing more in less time with great quality.
Trained sedation dentists have a variety of protocols available to customize to each patient’s physiological and pharmacological needs. So even if you have a unique medical condition, there still may be options. A number of medications that can be taken by mouth have been developed especially for these purposes, subjected to rigorous research and testing, are safe and have been used for decades. Some of these can even help you remember little of the visit, preventing the sounds and smells from lingering in your thoughts. Other medications sometimes used in sedation protocols include antihistamines and insomnia medications which aid in creating a relaxing and calm experience. For more on these medications see “Understanding the Medications” on the “What’s it Like?” page.
The term “sleep dentistry” is inappropriate. Sedation patients should always be able to verbally and physically respond to cues and questions from the doctor or team.
STEP ONEMaking your first appointment
This is difficult for many anxious people, so we try to make this as easy as possible.
Simply call (or email) the office that you choose. The Sedation Team will answer any questions you have and ask you some simple questions to help ensure you get the care you want and deserve.
When you're ready, you can schedule a time that works for you.
STEP TWOWelcoming visit
We gather information regarding your health and discuss with you your wants and desires. If you're comfortable, we'll take x-rays and look in your mouth. But you will never be judged or embarrassed.
Knowledge about oral sedation treatment is not only powerful—it is empowering. It is important to talk to your dentist about your fears and concerns during your consultation before any dentistry is ever performed. Request information on your dentist’s training, credentials, and the protocols they will use prior to the appointment. It is critical that you provide your dentist with an updated health history including any medications you are on, including vitamins and supplements. Factors like smoking and alcohol consumption can alter the effectiveness of sedation medications, so be sure to tell your doctor about any habits you may have. Even something as seemingly insignificant as drinking grapefruit juice can have an effect on sedation. The enzymes in grapefruit interfere with the systems that metabolize (break down) certain oral sedation medications in your body, so you should not consume grapefruit 72 hours prior to or immediately after a sedation procedure.
STEP THREEPreparing for your sedation visit
We'll give you a prescription for a sedative to take the night before your first appointment to guarantee a good night's sleep and to make sure you wake up relaxed.
Oral sedation is a popular treatment option for many people because it does not require the use of additional needles. Medications can be swallowed whole and/or crushed and administered by your dentist sublingually (under the tongue). Medications given sublingually are absorbed into the bloodstream quicker, so it is a preferred option by many dentists. Both methods are safe and effective.
The safety of sedation medications is measured by pharmacists and physicians on a scale called the therapeutic index. The larger the number is on the scale, the safer the drug. The sedation medications commonly used by dentists for oral sedation dentistry have the highest numbers possible on the therapeutic index, making them the least likely to cause an adverse reaction.
STEP FOURArriving for Treatment
Your companion will bring you to the office. Additional medications will be provided to create the ultimate in relaxation. Your experienced sedation team will monitor you throughout your entire visit.
Appropriately trained dentists can perform a variety of protocols customized to your particular physiological and pharmacological needs. The medications are safe and have been used for decades. In fact, you’ve probably seen or heard some of their names before. Several have amnesic properties, meaning that you remember little to nothing of your time in the dental chair. Sometimes referred to as “comfort dentistry” or “relaxation dentistry,’ it describes the feeling most patients have at their appointment.
While these methods and medications cannot make fear magically disappear, they can give you the confidence and peace-of-mind to experience dental procedures in a whole new way. Hours pass like mere minutes and more dentistry can be performed in a single visit because the dentist is able to work more efficiently. It is a win-win for both you and your dentist.
STEP FIVEGoing home with your new smile
In addition to providing your dentist with a complete health history, you will need to choose a companion to drive you to and from your sedation appointment. You should not eat or drink six hours prior to your appointment unless otherwise directed by your dentist. Your health history can effect your before and after care plans, especially for diabetics and smokers, so make sure your dentist knows about any medical conditions your may have. For longer appointments, the remainder of the day should be taken off. For shorter appointments, only half a day may be necessary. Be sure to stay hydrated and drink lots of fluids. You should not drive or operate heavy machinery for 24 hours.
STEP SIXThe next day
Most patients feel no discomfort or residual effects from the dental visit and you'll be thrilled with all the compliments you will get.