Are You Awake During Sedation Dentistry and How Does It Work?

Did you know that nearly 20% of the population suffers from dental phobia, fear or anxiety? Since dental work is necessary for a healthy smile and good quality of life, it can’t be avoided! Fortunately, there’s a way for fearful patients to get the care they need without anxiety: sedation dentistry in Reston. If you think you might benefit from this option, you may have questions about what to expect or if you’ll be awake during your procedure. Keep reading for answers to those questions and get one step closer to getting the dental care you need!


There are different types of sedation dentistry. The one most often used at a general dentist’s office is called conscious oral sedation, which has been safely and effectively used for many decades.

A dentist will prescribe an oral medication that you’ll take prior to your visit that will deeply calm and relax you so you won’t feel any anxiety. As an added bonus, some people don’t remember much of their visit at all afterward. However, you will be awake and aware throughout the appointment itself.

The effects usually last between 4-6 hours, so you must have a driver who can drive you to and from your dental office. After getting home, many patients fall asleep and wake up feeling calm and rested – with their dental procedure behind them!


Aside from some people having a mild amnesia effect, there are some other temporary side effects you may experience:

  • Feeling drowsy or sluggish
  • Low blood pressure
  • Mild headache
  • Slow reflexes


The first step is to make sure you’ve talked with your dentist about your dental history and given them a background of your phobia.

A good dentist will take the time to understand how you feel and make sure you feel heard. For many patients, this alone goes a long way towards making them feel comfortable.

After you’ve had this conversation, your dentist will discuss your options and recommend the best type of sedation for your needs. Their goal is to manage your fears and make sure you get the care you need as comfortably as possible.

For many fearful patients, sedation dentistry is a game-changer. It allows them to have a healthy smile without any crippling fear or anxiety before dental visits. It’s a win-win situation!


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