Fear of the dentist is all too common and we see many patients who are too scared to have the necessary dental treatment done. However, many aren’t aware that IV sedation (sedation through a vein) provides an extremely safe option to offset that fear. Additionally, those who have a severe gag reflex or don’t react well to numbing agents can benefit and turn what used to be torturous appointments into improved dental experiences.
How IV Sedation Dentistry Works
The IV line provides medications to prompt a state of conscious sedation. The direct access to the vein provides for rapid onset and improved control over the level of sedation in comparison to oral (pill) sedation. Throughout the entire procedure, we use monitors to constantly evaluate the patient’s blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen saturation level. Patients typically are so relaxed that they will sleep during the appointment, though they will remain conscious so they can still respond to commands. Also, patients experience a degree of amnesia, resulting in little to no recollection of the procedure.
Time-Saving Benefits of Sedation Dentistry
It is also great for patients who don’t want to make multiple visits to complete their treatment. Whether you can’t get off of work easily, live far away or just have a busy life, IV sedation allows you to get more dental work done during each visit. For example, if you needed six fillings and an extraction, you’d often need 3 or 4 visits to get it all done and have to be “numbed” each time. Instead, you can have it all done in one visit, plus you won’t remember much of it!
Before a patient can be sedated at an appointment, they must first have a consultation with their dentist.* While sedation is fantastic for the majority of patients, it is not for everyone. Safety is always paramount and for some, other options might be more appropriate. The consult provides an opportunity to review a patient’s medical history, the treatment plan, expectations, and goals. We also review the requirements of needing a driver to and from the clinic, and not eating or drinking for 8 hours prior to the appointment.
Overall, IV sedation is a safe and reliable way for patients to complete their dental work. Whether you need full mouth treatment or just a simple filling, sedation can make your experience better. Ask your dentist about sedation dentistry and to discover if it’s right for you.
*Please contact your Dental Associates clinic to confirm the type of sedation offered locally.