What is IV sedation dentistry?


Have you found yourself avoiding going to the dentist despite oral health issues, like cracked teeth or gum disease? In this case, you may be suffering from dental anxiety. Unfortunately, this issue is all too common, which can be associated with specific triggers – like drills or needles – or previous negative experiences with a dentist. According to American Dental Association, almost 22 percent of people skip their dental appointments because of dental anxiety or fear. 

Thankfully, modern dentistry provides multiple solutions for finding peace of mind in the dental chair. IV sedation dentistry is just one of those solutions for easing your dental anxiety. Let’s find out what IV sedation dentistry is and how it helps us. 

What is IV Sedation Dentistry?

IV sedation dentistry works as a form of conscious sedation to help you feel comfortable during your appointment. Intravenous (IV) sedation refers to directing an anti-anxiety drug through veins during dental work. This type of sedation is sometimes known as ‘sleep’ or ‘twilight’ dentistry. However, instead of putting you to sleep, the sedative helps you feel at peace and relax. You will be responsive to your dentist’s instructions, but you may not remember any of the procedure once it’s done. In other words, you won’t be unconscious, and it’s possible to wake you up if you fall asleep. 

How does IV sedation work?

During your dental appointment, the dentist will host a thin needle into a vein on your arm. The needle is connected to a tube that delivers the IV sedative directly into your bloodstream. Your dentist may apply a numbing cream to that area where the arm will be pricked if you fear needles. The doctor will continuously monitor your blood pressure, oxygen levels, and pulse to ensure you don’t have an adverse reaction to the sedative. Therefore, have a friend or family member to drive you home. We also advise you to take the full day off to have sufficient rest after the procedure. 

Benefits of IV sedation dentistry

  • It works quickly, so you feel minimal to no pain during the procedure.
  • The dentist can easily adjust the dosage as he/she monitors your vitals.
  • You won’t remember the procedure when you wake up as it creates a long period of amnesia.
  • It allows patients to cooperate for a more extended period, thus helping your dentist to perform multiple procedures within a single visit. 

Is IV Sedation Right for You?

Before applying IV sedation, your dentist will evaluate your health, including a review of your medication usage and medical history. Older patients or patients with significant medical considerations might need to consult with their primary care medical specialists. Typically, IV sedation dentistry is right for the following patients:

  • Patients with moderate to high dental anxiety.
  • Patients with a strong pharyngeal or gag reflex.
  • Patients who require more painful dental work.

Lastly, your dentist knows best if IV sedation is right for you. Nevertheless, the application of IV sedation requires extra training. If dental anxiety or other medical reasons prevent you from receiving the treatment you need, know your comfortable oral sedation options. You may also want to know about, “What kinds of sedation do dentists use?”

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