Fear of the dentist is a real and serious problem for many adults. Dental phobia prevents thousands of people each year from getting the dental care that they need.
Woodbridge dentist Dr. Joseph Cavallo offers sedation dentistry options to help patients feel more comfortable and relaxed during their treatment.
ABOUT SEDATION DENTISTRY
Sedation Dentistry is only administered by a dentist through close care and guidance to minimize side effects and ensure there are not adverse interactions with other medications you may be taking.
In addition to helping patients feel more relaxed, sedation dentistry can also help patients undergo multiple procedures in one visit that would otherwise require multiple appointments, saving time and money.
Who is an ideal candidate for Sedation Dentistry?
Dental sedation is immensely beneficial for any patient who experiences anxiety when seeing the dentist. This service is often ideal for healthy patients who want to combine a number of dental procedures into one visit because, under sedation, it is easy to remain in the dental chair for a longer period of time. While there are a few different types of dental sedation, we offer IV sedation that is administered by a board-certified dental anesthesiologist who comes to the office for this sole purpose. IV sedation is primarily used during more complex procedures like dental implants, or for combination procedures.
How to prepare for IV Sedation Dentistry?
The first step in preparing for IV dental sedation is to have an in-depth discussion with the dentist. It is important to discuss your medical history, health conditions, and medications and supplements that you are taking to ensure you are a good candidate for this service, and that it is planned in the safest manner possible.
Patients scheduled for IV sedation receive detailed instructions regarding the steps leading up to their procedure. Generally, patients are instructed not to eat or drink anything within 8 hours before their appointment. Additional guidelines may include:
- Avoid smoking and tobacco use for at least 12 hours before treatment.
- Wear only light makeup to the appointment. Do not wear lipstick.
- Remove nail polish prior to the appointment.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing, especially a top with short or loose sleeves.
- Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes that will be easy to walk in after treatment.
- DO NOT wear contact lenses or jewelry to the appointment.
Aftercare and Recovery for IV Sedation Dentistry
Because patients are deeply relaxed while under IV sedation, the effects can take some time to wear off. For this reason, it is necessary for a loved one to see the patient safely home. Once home, patients should take it easy. Strenuous activity should be avoided. Patients cannot drive, use heavy machinery, or return to work until the following day. It is necessary to avoid alcohol consumption for at least 24 hours after receiving IV sedation. Because sedation has an amnesiac effect, patients should avoid having important conversations, doing household projects, or making important decisions on the day of their dental treatment.
Benefits and side-effects of IV Sedation Dentistry?
IV sedation is delivered through a needle inserted into a superficial vein. This method offers several benefits, including:
- Fast-acting effects. Because the anti-anxiety medication is delivered directly to the bloodstream, the calming effects occur quickly. IV sedation works faster than both inhaled sedation and oral sedation. Just knowing this, many patients feel more relaxed about their dental treatment overall.
- Conscious sedation. IV sedation is strong, but does not compare to general anesthesia. Patients are deeply relaxed but can still breathe and swallow on their own, and can respond to verbal cues from the dentist or anesthesiologist.
- Easy dosage adjustment. During sedation, our patients are monitored by a dental anesthesiologist. The fast action of the medication allows this doctor to observe the level of sedation and maintain it at the right depth for comfort and safety.
- Little to no recall. Dental sedation most often has an amnesia-like effect. Patients remember little, if anything, of their procedure. This can be beneficial for those with dental anxiety who tend to have unpleasant feelings about seeing the dentist.
The side effects of IV dental sedation are short term and generally mild. Throughout the hours after this service, patients may experience the following:
- Drowsiness. After receiving IV dental sedation, patients may notice that they feel drowsy for a day or two.
- Headache. This side effect can occur for several reasons, including the medication leaving the system, dehydration, and changes in blood sugar related to not eating for several hours. Headache may be alleviated by drinking plenty of water and eating a small meal (soft foods) when returning home.
- Dry mouth. This may occur as a result of medication as well as having the mouth open during the dental procedure. Sipping water through the remainder of the day can help resolve this.
- Nausea and vomiting. Some patients may feel nauseous or may vomit sometime after their dental appointment. This can be due to the effects of medication on the brain.
- Bruising at the insertion site.
What type of drugs are used in IV Sedation?
Most IV sedatives are some type of benzodiazepine. This drug class has anti-anxiety and sedative effects. Patients are deeply relaxed under IV sedation but not to the same extent as they would be under general anesthesia. Dental sedation does not inhibit the patient from responding to or communicating with the staff if necessary.
How safe is IV Sedation Dentistry?
IV sedation is generally considered safe. This service is preceded by a thorough review of medical history and current health status. The dentist asks about underlying health conditions and other factors that may pose a risk during deep sedation. It is our commitment to our patients that we place their health and safety above all else. If necessary, we can consider viable alternatives to IV sedation in appropriate circumstances.
Will I be able to drive after my IV Sedation appointment?
No. It can take up to 24 hours for the effects of IV sedation to fully wear off. Patients who include this service with their dental treatment must arrange to have a loved one bring them to their appointment and drive them home. Due to prolonged drowsiness, it may be beneficial to have someone stay with the patient for several hours.
I have been grinding my teeth for years and it was becoming clear that if left without correction i would be endangered of losing my teeth. Dr. Cavallo developed a long term solution to the problem. The plan was clearly explained to me and carried out in a methodical manner. The result is wonderful. My teeth look perfect, even, and the color blends in with my natural teeth. While I may still grind my teeth my mouth guard protects my crowns from damage. Quite a turnaround from before.
I was having ongoing dental problems that needed serious attention. I went to Dr. Cavallo to have a complete examination and to see what my options were. The treatment resulted in teeth that look and feel just like my natural teeth. People are always complimenting me on them. I’m so happy that I chose Dr. Cavallo!
When I moved here, I asked a neighbor if she knew of a good dentist. She gave me two names. I choose Dr. Cavallo, and I haven’t been disappointed! The results of my treatment are wonderful!! I really like my new teeth. The staff was extremely nice and helpful.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Dr. Cavallo works closely with a local board-certified anesthesiologist offering IV sedation for surgical procedures such as dental implants. Your safety is our top priority. Our board-certified anesthesiologist will come to our Woodbridge, VA dentist office on the day of your treatment and will monitor your procedure from start to finish.
IV Sedation allows patients to rest peacefully while more complex treatments are performed. IV sedation allows Dr. Cavallo to perform multiple treatments in one sitting. Patients who choose IV sedation will require transportation from our office after their treatment.
To learn more about sedation dentistry services or to find out if you are a candidate, contact our Woodbridge, VA, office today. Give us a call at (703) 490-5888, or request an appointment online today.