Sedation Dentistry Options: What Are The Differences?

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The thought of sedation dentistry comes to mind for many people in Northern Virginia and Maryland when they find themselves in need of a dental procedure.  

After all, sedation dentistry helps take the edge off during appointments and prevents pain during procedures. However, at Virginia Advanced Surgical Arts, we do things differently.  

Instead of using traditional sedation dentistry methods, we provide patients with full-range oral surgery anesthesia options to suit their specific needs and make their experience pain-free. If you are unaware of the anesthetic options available for dental procedures, keep reading as we explain a little more about what Virginia Advanced Surgical Arts has to offer. 

Types of Oral Surgery Anesthesia 

Before the day of your procedure, Dr. Gocke will carefully decide on the type of oral surgery anesthesia he will use based on your specific needs and medical history. Though they differ from one another, every type of anesthesia option aids in providing Northern Virginia patients with a pain-free experience during their dental procedure. 

Local Anesthesia 

Local anesthesia is a medication that is injected into the treatment area, which then becomes numb. This type of anesthesia allows patients to remain awake during their procedure. Local anesthesia eliminates pain, but some patients may experience a sense of pressure during their procedure. 

Nitrous Oxide Sedation 

Nitrous oxide is a form of sedation density that is administered through a facial mask and allows patients to feel relaxed during their procedure. The biggest benefit of nitrous oxide is that its effects last only as long as the mask is worn. 

IV Sedation 

For patients whose dental procedure requires IV sedation, the medication will be administered through an IV in the arm or hand. IV sedation allows for varying degrees of unconsciousness.  

When you wake up, it will feel like mere minutes have passed since you arrived for your appointment. Patients who receive IV sedation will need a friend or family member present to drive them home after their procedure. 

General Anesthesia 

General anesthesia allows patients to be completely asleep during their dental procedure. Typically, this type of sedation dentistry is used for major dental surgery. The effects of general anesthesia take hours to wear off, and patients who receive it will need someone with them to drive them home. 


EXPAREL is a pain medication, which accompanies other forms of anesthesia. It is a non-opioid, long-lasting medication and is injected directly into the surgical site. EXPAREL is great for wisdom teeth removal, and Gocke often uses it on younger patients to avoid the need for potentially addictive oral pain medication. 

Visit Virginia Advanced Surgical Arts For A Pain-Free Dental Experience! 

Our oral surgeons pride themselves on providing exceptional care to all patients, and this includes offering oral surgery anesthesia options to meet their needs. 

Call Virginia Advanced Surgical Arts’ McLean office at (703) 263-8834, Reston office at (571) 595-3223, or Potomac office at (703) 723-5366 to book your initial consultation. He will be able to fully explain your procedure and options for anesthesia to help put your mind at ease.