Oral-Conscious Sedation in Bethesda & Chevy Chase, MD

28 Services ( View All )

Relaxing Dental Care with Oral-Conscious Sedation

Oral Concious Sedation pill

If you experience dental anxiety or need to undergo a lengthy procedure, sedation dentistry can provide a comfortable experience. At Smiles of Chevy Chase, we offer an array of sedation dentistry options, including oral conscious sedation, a safe and effective form of sedation that doesn't require IVs or gas inhalation.

Led by Chevy Chase, MD, sedation dentist, Dr. Despina Markogiannakis, our Greater Washington area dental practice is dedicated to helping you receive the care you need without discomfort or dental anxiety. Discover the benefits of oral-conscious sedation and how it can transform your dental experience by reading further or scheduling an appointment by calling 301-652-0656.

What is Oral Conscious Sedation?

Oral-conscious sedation, also known as oral sedation, is a convenient and comfortable form of sedation dentistry. It involves taking a sedative pill, typically a benzodiazepine, at a scheduled time before your appointment. By the time you arrive at Smiles of Chevy Chase, the calming effects of the oral sedation medication will have taken effect, allowing you to remain awake and responsive during your procedure while feeling deeply relaxed from anxiety.

Benefits of Oral Conscious Sedation

oral sedation cartoon

Some of the many benefits of oral sedation include:

  • Alleviates Dental Anxiety: Oral-conscious sedation helps patients overcome their fear and anxiety associated with dental procedures, making the experience more comfortable.
  • Minimal Amnesia Effect: While under the influence of oral sedation, patients may experience partial or complete amnesia about the dental procedure, reducing the likelihood of traumatic memories.
  • No Needles or IVs: Unlike other forms of sedation, oral-conscious sedation does not involve needles or intravenous lines, making it a more comfortable option for those with a fear of needles.
  • Faster Recovery: Oral sedation typically wears off more quickly than other, deeper forms of sedation, such as IV sedation. This allows patients to resume their normal activities within a shorter time frame.
  • Ideal for Lengthy Procedures: Oral-conscious sedation is well-suited for longer or more complex dental procedures, helping patients remain relaxed and comfortable throughout the entire process.
  • Improved Pain Relief: Oral sedation can be used alongside local anesthesia to improve pain relief during your dental procedure.

Who Qualifies for Oral-Conscious Sedation?

You may qualify for oral sedation if any of the following apply to you:

  • You’re not pregnant
  • You’re not allergic to benzodiazepines or other substances used for oral 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

Preparing for Oral Conscious Sedation

Preparing for a dental visit with oral conscious sedation is simple:

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing with short sleeves to make it easy for the dental team to access your arm for monitoring purposes.
  • Remove any nail polish or artificial nails, as they can interfere with the accurate reading of oxygen levels through your fingernails.
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses, as they may cause discomfort or dryness during the procedure.
  • Remove any jewelry or accessories before the dental treatment. While under sedation, these items can press into your skin and injure you during dental procedures.
  • Arrange for a responsible adult to accompany you to the appointment and drive you home afterward. You will need someone to stay with you for at least four to six hours after the procedure to ensure your safety.
  • Avoid consuming any food or drinks (including water) for at least six hours before your scheduled appointment time, as instructed by your dentist.
  • Take the prescribed oral sedation medication at the recommended time before your appointment, typically around 30 to 60 minutes prior.
  • Dress warmly and bring a blanket or jacket, as you may feel chilled during the procedure due to the relaxing effects of the sedation.
  • Arrive early to your appointment to allow time for the sedative to take effect and for any necessary pre-operative preparations.
  • Be well-rested before your appointment to enhance the effectiveness of the sedation and promote a smoother recovery.

The Oral Conscious Sedation Process

woman taking oral sedation pill


Before approving you for oral-conscious sedation, your Chevy Chase sedation dentist will have you attend a thorough initial consultation. During this appointment, they will review your medical history, current medications, and other relevant factors to ensure that you can safely undergo sedation dentistry with anti-anxiety medication or sedatives.

This comprehensive evaluation is crucial to minimize any potential risks and tailor the sedation experience to your individual needs.

Dosage Determination

Several types of oral-conscious sedation medications can be prescribed. The specific medication and dosage recommended will depend on multiple factors, including:

  • Your level of dental anxiety or fear
  • Your overall physical health and medical conditions
  • The type of dental procedure being performed
  • The estimated length and complexity of your appointment

During your consultation, your sedation dentist will carefully consider these factors and prescribe the appropriate oral sedation medication for you.


Follow your sedation dentist’s instructions carefully regarding when to take the sedative medication before your scheduled appointment. As the sedative medication will impair your ability to drive, you must arrange for a responsible adult to accompany you to and from our Chevy Chase dental office.

Procedure Under Sedation

Once you arrive at our office, the oral sedation medication will have taken effect, inducing a state of deep relaxation and reduced anxiety. While you will remain conscious and able to respond to verbal commands, you may experience partial or complete amnesia about the dental procedure itself.

Throughout treatment, our team will closely monitor your vital signs, such as blood pressure, oxygen levels, and heart rate, to ensure your safety and comfort. Your dentist and our skilled staff will perform the necessary dental procedure with the utmost care and precision, ensuring a comfortable experience for you.


woman resting oral conscious sedation

After your procedure, you will be closely monitored in our recovery area until the sedative's effects have sufficiently subsided. During this time, the responsible adult who accompanied you must remain present to assist you and receive post-operative instructions from our dental team.

The duration of the recovery period may vary depending on the type and dosage of the sedative used, as well as your response to the medication. Once you are deemed stable and alert enough to leave, your companion will be responsible for ensuring your safe transportation home.

It's important to note that the effects of oral sedation can last for several hours after the procedure. During this time, you should avoid operating heavy machinery, making important decisions, or engaging in activities that require complete alertness. We recommend that you rest and allow the sedative to fully wear off before resuming your normal routine.

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, your dental office will contact your carrier to determine your benefits regarding sedation methods.

From there, your sedation dentist can better estimate your out-of-pocket costs. You should also contact your insurance provider beforehand to gain a better understanding of your plan and ask if your dentist provides in-office financing options.

Is oral-conscious sedation safe?

Oral-conscious sedation is safe, as long as it is performed and overseen by trained professionals. Your dental team will constantly monitor your vitals during your procedure and check in with you regularly to ensure your safety and comfort. Your sedation dentist will also give you 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 dental anxiety 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 sedation 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 sedation dentist. If you experience lingering side effects, contact your dental office as soon as possible.

Discover Calm and Comfortable Dentistry with Oral-Conscious Sedation

Don't let dental anxiety hold you back. Experience calming dental care at Smiles of Chevy Chase. Led by Dr. Markogiannakis, our team offers oral-conscious sedation to ensure your comfort during treatments.

Take the first step towards a healthier smile –schedule your consultation for oral-conscious sedation today. Call our Chevy Chase office at 301-652-0656 or contact us online now. We provide oral sedation and other sedation dentistry services to new and returning patients from Chevy Chase and surrounding areas such as Bethesda, Somerset, and Forest Hills, MD.

Related Procedures

*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.