If you’re one of the many individuals who experience dental anxiety, sedation dentistry may be right for you. But if you’ve opted for sedation, you might be wondering which method of sedation will best suit your unique needs. At Smiles of Chevy Chase, sleep dentist Dr. Despina Markogiannakis offers oral-conscious sedation, a sedation dentistry option that involves no IVs or gas inhalation. Keep reading to learn more about oral-conscious sedation and how you may benefit.
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What Is Oral-Conscious Sedation?
Oral-conscious sedation involves taking a sedative, usually a benzodiazepine, that comes in the form of a pill. You’ll take this pill beforehand at a scheduled time. Once you arrive at Smiles of Chevy Chase, the effects of the sedative should have fully set in by the time your procedure begins. As a form of conscious sedation, you’ll stay awake and responsive.
Benefits of Oral Conscious Sedation
- Comfort – As with other forms of sedation, oral conscious sedation will help you relax and overcome any fear or anxiety you may be feeling.
- Retain Consciousness – You’ll remain conscious, which will make it easier for us to monitor you and your vitals during your visit. You may fall asleep because you’re so relaxed, however, it will be simple to wake you up.
- Painless – Oral-conscious sedation doesn’t require IV use, making it totally pain-free and a perfect option for patients who are afraid of needles.
- Mild Amnesia – Patients who undergo oral conscious sedation usually don’t remember most or all of the procedure they underwent. This can be helpful for patients who have severe dental anxiety and don’t want to remember their procedure.
Who Qualifies For Oral-Conscious Sedation?
You may qualify for oral-conscious sedation if:
- You’re not pregnant
- You’re not allergic to benzodiazepines or other substances used for oral-conscious sedation
- You experience dental fear/anxiety
- You don’t have heart or respiratory problems
- You have a long procedure scheduled
- You have a strong gag reflex
- You have a resistance to anesthetic
- You can secure reliable transportation to and from your appointment
What To Expect From Oral-Conscious Sedation
Before approving you for oral-conscious sedation, Dr. Markogiannakis will have you attend a thorough initial consultation. She will go over your medical history, current medications, and other factors to ensure you can safely take anti-anxiety medication/sedatives.
There are several types of oral-conscious sedation medications that can be prescribed. The type recommended by Dr. Markogiannakis will depend on multiple factors including:
- Your level of anxiety
- Your physical health
- What procedure is being performed
- The estimated length of your appointment
Your oral-conscious sedation medication will be prescribed during your consultation so you can have it filled before your procedure. Because you will need to take the sedative before arriving, arrange for a ride to and from your appointment at our Chevy Chase dental office.
Preparing For & Recovering From Oral-Conscious Sedation
To ensure your safety and recovery during and after your sedation appointment there are certain steps you’ll need to follow.
- Avoid wearing long sleeves to make placing any sensors easy.
- Avoid wearing nail polish, as this blocks your nail beds and may obscure signs of cyanosis.
- Avoid wearing jewelry or contact lenses, as these items might cause you harm while you’re under sedation.
- Be sure to secure transportation to get to and from your appointment safely beforehand. A reliable adult will also need to stay with you for at least two to four hours afterward.
- The risk of nausea and vomiting can be reduced by having a light meal before taking the medication and eating a small snack about one hour after your procedure. Please contact our Chevy Chase office if you have any lingering side effects or if you have concerns after your procedure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is oral-conscious sedation covered by insurance?
When deemed medically necessary, most insurance providers will cover or at least partially cover the cost of oral-conscious sedation. If you have dental insurance, our dental office will contact your carrier to determine your benefits regarding sedation methods. From there, your sleep dentist can better estimate your out-of-pocket costs. We also encourage you to contact your insurance provider beforehand to gain a better understanding of your plan.
If you don't have dental insurance or you're underinsured, your dentist can go over the payment methods accepted by our office during your initial consultation. This includes medical financing, which may make your sedation and treatment more affordable.
Is oral-conscious sedation safe?
Oral-conscious sedation is safe, as long as it is performed and overseen by trained professionals. Once you arrive at our dental office, we’ll constantly monitor your vitals during your procedure and check in with you regularly to ensure your safety and comfort. Your sleep dentist will also give you specific instructions to follow before and after sedation to ensure you recover and stay safe while the sedative wears off.
Is oral-conscious sedation suitable for children?
In general, oral-conscious sedation can help both adults and children who have anxieties or fears about going to the dentist. Children, who are often especially prone to dental fear, will likely find the calming effects of sedation highly beneficial. Just like with adult patients, your sleep dentist will provide your child with a thorough consultation beforehand to ensure sedation is safe for them.
What are the side effects of oral-conscious sedation?
Most commonly, patients experience headaches, dizziness, nausea, or vomiting after taking oral-conscious sedation. However, these side effects should wear off quickly as long as you follow the instructions given to you by your sleep dentist. If you experience lingering side effects, contact our dental office as soon as possible.
Relax With Oral-Conscious Sedation At Smiles Of Chevy Chase
With oral-conscious sedation, you can painlessly overcome dental fear and get the care you need for a healthier smile. Dr. Markogiannakis offers oral-conscious sedation as an option for patients in the greater Washington area, including Chevy Chase and surrounding areas such as Bethesda, Somerset, and Forest Hills, MD.
If you want to learn more about the sedation dentistry options available at Smiles of Chevy Chase, schedule a consultation with Dr. Markogiannakis by calling 301-652-0656. You can also fill out the contact form in the upper right-hand corner of the page, and one of our friendly team members will get back to you shortly.