Oral Sedation Dentistry – Alexandria, VA

Making Oral Surgery a
Stress-Free Experience

Oral surgery takes time, and many patients are nervous about receiving treatment beforehand. It’s no surprise, then, that some need help staying fully relaxed and comfortable during their visit. Here at Northern Virginia Oral, Maxillofacial & Implant Surgery, we offer various kinds of sedation as well as general anesthesia that can help you have a pain and stress-free procedure. Feel free to call us to learn more about the available options for oral sedation dentistry during your upcoming treatment.

Why Choose Northern Virginia Oral, Maxillofacial & Implant Surgery for Oral Sedation Dentistry?

  • Multiple Forms of Dental Sedation Available
  • Led by Board-Certified
    Oral Surgeons
  • Focus on Providing
    Quality Patient Care

Oral Conscious Dental Sedation

Patient taking oral conscious sedation dentistry pill

Oral conscious sedation is usually recommended for lengthier procedures or patients with moderate to severe anxieties. You’ll be provided with some medication to take before your appointment; once it takes effect, you’ll still be awake enough to follow directions, but you’ll also be so relaxed that you’re likely to have trouble remembering anything about your visit afterward. Plan on having someone else drive you home, as the effects will not have fully worn off.

Nitrous Oxide Dental Sedation

Woman receiving nitrous oxide in Alexandria from her dentist

Nitrous oxide is also known as “laughing gas”, which refers to the giddy feeling that it causes while you’re under its effects; you’ll be unbothered by anything going on around you while the surgery takes place. If you’re not very familiar with sedation or you believe you only need mild assistance feeling relaxed during your dental appointment, keep reading to learn more about how the process works and what you can expect ahead of your visit.

Who is a Good Candidate for Nitrous Oxide?

Woman smiling while visiting a sedation dentist in Alexandria

Sedation options like nitrous oxide are incredibly safe, making it ideal for a variety of patients with different concerns. For example, if you have a fear of needles or struggle to remain still while in the dental chair, nitrous oxide can work to relieve these anxieties with relative ease. We may also recommend sedation for those with the following concerns:

  • Strong or sensitive gag reflex
  • Dental sensitivity
  • General anxiety or overstimulation when in the dental office
  • Difficulty receiving numbing agents or feeling their effects

How Does Nitrous Oxide Work?

Woman receiving nitrous oxide in Alexandria during dental appointment

Nitrous oxide is ideal for briefer procedures, and it helps soothe milder cases of anxiety. The way it works is relatively simple. We’ll place a nasal mask over your face once you’re in the dental chair and you’ll breathe in the sedative throughout the treatment. The sedative will take effect almost immediately, helping you feel calm and at ease but still conscious enough to receive directions and tell us about your comfort levels. Because the effects of the sedative dissipate shortly after the mask is removed, you can even drive yourself home without any interruption.

Aftercare for Nitrous Oxide

Sedation dentist in Alexandria smiling at her patient

While you’ll be able to drive yourself home after your appointment, you will need to sit in our office for a few minutes just so we can confirm you’re okay to drive. Once you’re cleared, you can easily continue your day-to-day activities, whether that involves going back to work, school, or running daytime errands. Be sure to take note of any treatment-specific instructions from our dentists to ensure the smoothest recovery possible. We’ll make sure to schedule your for a follow-up to see how you’re doing and if any adjustments need to be made.

IV Dental Sedation

I V dental sedation drip

IV sedation is one of the strongest forms of sedation available that still leaves patients awake during their treatment. The sedative is delivered into your bloodstream to put you in an advanced state of relaxation. It’s not uncommon for patients to doze off, but you can be awakened very easily. Most people don’t even remember what happened during the treatment, which is good news for particularly anxious patients.

General Anesthesia

Patient under general anesthesia during oral surgery

When you think of being put to sleep for surgery, you’re thinking of general anesthesia. This is somewhat like IV sedation, except it keeps you completely unconscious during your procedure. While you’re under the effects of general anesthesia, our team will monitor you to make sure that you stay safe and comfortable the whole time. There are a few steps you’ll need to take to prepare for a procedure involving general anesthesia, and we’ll make sure you’re fully informed of them well ahead of time.

Learn More About General Anesthesia

Oral Conscious Sedation FAQs

Person holding medication from sedation dentist in Alexandria

Sedation dentistry can make even the most complex dental procedures comfortable. However, it’s understandable if you’re unsure which form of sedation is right for you. If you have questions or concerns about oral conscious sedation specifically, we encourage you to learn more about this sedation method in our FAQ section below. We’ve answered many questions over the years, so you just may find the answer you’re looking for ahead of your appointment!

Is Oral Conscious Sedation Safe?

When administered by a professional, such as any of our highly experienced oral surgeons, you can expect oral conscious sedation to be safe. With that said, some people may not be eligible for oral conscious sedation, such as those who are obese or have obstructive sleep apnea. People with conditions like these are generally at greater risk of experiencing complications following oral conscious sedation. We’ll make sure you are able to receive sedation safely, no matter what strength of sedation you’re considering.

How Should I Prepare for Oral Conscious Sedation?

Preparing for oral conscious sedation is a relatively straightforward process. You’ll want to avoid eating anything about 6 hours before your appointment, making it ideal to schedule your visit in the morning. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep the night before and have a friend or family member drive you to and from the office the day of your procedure. Because the effects take time to fade away, you’ll need to take the rest of your day off after your appointment is complete. If you typically wear jewelry or other valuables, we recommend leaving them at home. Wear loose-fitting clothing for optimal comfort. If you need to have any prescriptions ready after your treatment (such as painkillers), have them filled before your appointment.

How Long Does Oral Conscious Sedation Take to Kick In?

Oral conscious sedation comes in the form of a pill that is consumed orally and takes roughly 20 minutes to kick in. However, this amount of time can vary based on your body weight and other factors, meaning it could take up to 30 minutes in other circumstances. While you can take the sedative at our office, it’s best to take it prior to arriving at our practice and have someone drive you to your appointment. Our oral surgeons will always make sure the sedative has taken effect before beginning your procedure.

How Will I Feel After Oral Conscious Sedation?

Keep in mind that the effects of oral conscious sedation can take several hours to dissipate completely. You’ll still be awake after receiving the sedative, but barely remember any of your appointment when it completely wears off. However, since the effects take hours to go away completely, you won’t be able to drive a vehicle or perform other tasks properly. A general rule of thumb is to wait at least 24 hours before resuming normal activities. Other common side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, fogginess, and loss of memory.