Understanding the Basics of Sedation Dentistry

IV Sedation

Dental anxiety can come in the way of you trying to take care of your teeth. According to the American Dental Association, around 22% of people avoid going for a dental appointment as they fear meeting with a dentist. A common option that helps ease dental anxiety is sedation dentistry. It might just be what you need to undergo dental treatment.

What Is IV Sedation Dentistry?

In the simplest of words, IV sedation dentistry offers a form of conscious sedation for helping patients feel relaxed when meeting their dentist for an appointment. Although the method does not put one to sleep, it does help make one less aware of their surroundings including what the dentist says or does. Thus, you will have an easier time responding to verbal commands and not experience any difficulty while breathing. The sedation is administered intravenously by the dentist unlike other types of sedation which are usually inhaled such as nitrous oxide or consumed in fill form. This means that the sedation is done through the vein. It offers the following benefits.

IV sedation works quickly and ensures that you feel minimal to no pain during treatment.

It allows the dentist to easily monitor your vitals and adjust the dosage accordingly.

It ensures that you are cooperative for an extended period of time. Therefore, the dentist would be able to perform multiple procedures during a single appointment. It does not get better than this.

It creates an extended period of amnesia. Hence, you would not even remember undergoing the procedure once you wake up.

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How You Can Prepare for IV Sedation?

Before you decide to undergo IV sedation, it is important that you prepare for the procedure. Now, you will need to prepare for it more in comparison to a typical dental appointment. To help you prepare, here is what you can expect throughout your IV sedation.

Before IV Sedation

Before IV sedation, the dentist would provide you with explicit instructions. Typically, these would involve recommendations for avoiding food or beverages for 6 to 8 hours before the sedation, wearing comfortable clothing, and not taking certain medications unless approved. The dentist will require you to provide your complete medical history and alert them of any requests. You might also need to line up a driver for taking you to and from the appointment.

During IV Sedation

Once you have made it to the dentist, the dental assistant would begin the IV in your arm or hand. If you require any medication such as steroids, anti-inflammatories, or pain medicine, you can rest assured that you will receive them through the IV as well. Your pulse, blood pressure levels, and breathing will be monitored by the dentist during the procedure to watch out for adverse reaction. Once you are sedated, you will immediately feel relaxed and unaware of any sound, smell, or sight.

After IV Sedation

Patients tend to feel a bit drowsy for a few hours after the procedure is complete. Hence, your driver would need to collect you from the dentist and take you back home. Make sure to avoid any strenuous activity, lifting heavy machinery, alcohol, unapproved medications, or making life-changing decisions.

Now, it is quite rare for any complication to occur due to sedation. However, if you suspect any problem, it is advised that you contact your dentist immediately.

Do You Make A Good IV Sedation Candidate?

Before scheduling an appointment with your dentist for IV sedation, it is important that you undergo a health evaluation and a review of your medication use. A consultation with a medical specialist or primary care physician might be required for patients that have significant medical considerations or are much older. Generally, a good candidate for IV sedation should meet the following requirements.

  • Experience moderate to high dental anxiety.
  • Have a strong gag reflex.
  • Require more painful dental work.
  • Need to undergo multiple or longer procedures.


Moreover, the ability to provide IV sedation requires training. Hence, you need to check with the dental office to find out if it is offered. Remember, there are plenty of people who experience dental anxiety and rely on IV sedation for much-needed relief.

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