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Sedation Dentistry vs Anesthesia

Young dental patients may feel nervous about upcoming dental work, but adults can experience this kind of anxiety too. Modern dental professionals focus on keeping patients comfortable during their visits and have developed sedation dentistry to help patients relax in the dental chair.

Dentists can also offer anesthesia, which has a different purpose and effect for patients. Brighter Smile Family Dentistry and Orthodontics describes the varying advantages of sedation and anesthesia during a dentist appointment.

sedation dental treatments in Sterling Virginia

Local Anesthetic

A local anesthetic is a medication that a dentist delivers via injection to a nerve near an affected tooth before a dental procedure. The medicine blocks the nerve from sending pain signals to the brain, numbing the area.

This ensures that patients do not experience discomfort during dental work. The treatment does not affect a patient’s consciousness, and the effects wear off within a few hours.

Sedation Dental Treatment

Sedation dentistry is designed to relax a patient during a dental procedure. Depending on a patient’s anxiety level, a dental professional may recommend differing treatments that can provide varying levels of awareness.

Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is breathed in by a patient through a nasal mask and provides a calming sensation with little or no impact on consciousness. The effects should wear off when the mask is removed and the patient breathes normally once again.

Oral sedation involves a pill that a patient takes before their appointment that may make the patient feel groggy after their procedure. They may require someone to give them a ride home from the dentist’s office.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia involves a medication that makes a patient unconscious throughout their dental work. This treatment is usually reserved for invasive oral surgeries or patients with severe dental fear.

The medication is often administered intravenously. The patient may feel disoriented when they wake after the medication is stopped. These effects could last the rest of the day, so someone should take the patient home at the conclusion of their procedure.

Relax with sedation dentistry today. Brighter Smile Family Dentistry and Orthodontics provides dental sedation and other general dental services in Sterling, VA.