Most people get a little sweaty in the palms when they walk into the dental office. However, for a person to feel so apprehensive about seeing the dentist that they simply don’t make the appointments that they need to sustain good oral health means there is a bigger problem. Dental anxiety is not a new thing whatsoever. It affects millions of people. Finally, we are able to talk about this problem! More importantly, we are able to find ways over the obstacle of dental anxiety to reach the finish line of optimal oral health.
One of the ways that we help patients feel comfortable when they visit our McLean general and cosmetic dentistry office is with personal, friendly care. We know, though, that that isn’t always enough, so we’ve also included sedation dentistry as a valuable add-on to dental care. Here, we want to discuss a few particulars about oral conscious sedation.
What is oral conscious sedation?
Oral conscious sedation is a pre-treatment that involves taking a prescription sedative by mouth. Usually, a pill is taken about an hour before a dental appointment. This provides enough time for medication to reach the bloodstream, where it has a depressive effect on the central nervous system. Some sedatives do cause a bit of drowsiness, but every person is different. What patients can expect is for their breathing to become slow and even, and for their mind and body to relax.
What Conscious Sedation Feels Like
Most people are familiar with the two extremes of therapy. One is that local anesthetic is used to numb whatever part of the body is being treated. The other is to deliver powerful medication through an IV to put a patient “to sleep.” Conscious sedation is somewhere in the middle. It is a safe and effective method of releasing anxiety so care can be provided in a comfortable manner.
When under conscious sedation, a patient may close her eyes and seem to drift into twilight sleep. However, there is an ability to communicate if desired. Patients are also able to swallow and breathe without assistance. When treatment is complete, a gentle pat on the arm is enough to rouse alertness. Because slight drowsiness may linger, patients need to be driven home and should remain at home until the effects of medication have fully disappeared.
You don’t have to explain away dental anxiety, nor do you have to forego dental care. Call 703-448-1020 to speak with us about sedation for your next visit.