123Dentist Answers your questions

Intravenous Dental Sedation

Heavy intravenous (IV) sedation, putting a patient to sleep for the entire visit. Best for high anxiety or intensive procedures.

IV sedation is often used for patients who feel anxious about visiting the dentist for dental procedures. For many people who avoid treatment due to anxiety, it is an important tool in oral health and dental care.

How IV Sedation Works

IV sedation uses medication delivered intravenously (into the veins) to put patients into a calm and relaxed state before a dental procedure. Although it’s sometimes referred to as “sleep” dentistry, IV sedation is typically used as a conscious sedation technique. There are various levels of sedation used in IV sedation, most of which are considered moderate to deep because patients are largely unaware of their surroundings.

Intravenous sedation is administered directly through the blood. Your dentist or dental anesthesiologist will insert a thin needle into your arm or on the back of your hand. The needle is then connected to an intravenous tube, which delivers the sedative directly into the bloodstream.

In most cases, the sedative will make you very sleepy, sluggish, and unaware of what is going on around you, but not unconscious. This is why it’s sometimes referred to as “twilight” sedation.

Throughout the dental procedure, your anesthesiologist will monitor your vital signs continuously, including your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. You’ll wake up fairly quickly after the IV is removed. Once the sedation wears off, you’re likely to remember very little of the procedure.

When is IV Sedation Used?

IV sedation is typically reserved for patients undergoing multiple dental procedures and have demonstrated a need for it or those with a very high level of anxiety. It may be administered when patients come in for tooth extractions, root canals, or other invasive procedures.

In most cases, sedation is not administered during shorter and less invasive procedures, such as dental exams and dental hygiene appointments. However, if significant teeth cleaning is required and a patient has anxiety, it may be an option.

Not all dental clinics offer IV sedation, so check with your local 123Dentist dental clinic to learn more about sedation options.

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Other Types of Dental Sedation

There are various types of medicines available for use in sedation dentistry. For people who are afraid of needles, other types of sedation may be more effective than IV sedation. Two other forms of sedation include nitrous oxide sedation (which is given in gas form) and oral sedation (which is given as an oral pill).

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IV Sedation Side Effects

There are some potential side effects associated with intravenous sedation. After the sedation begins to wear off, you may feel drowsy or nauseous. Other common side effects include slow reflexes, lowered blood pressure, and headaches. After your procedure, be sure to rest, drink plenty of water, and refrain from driving for 24 hours.

Talk to your dentist about potential side effects and how they can be managed. IV sedation may also be used alongside a local anesthetic, which can cause additional side effects.

Learn More About Sedation Dentistry Near You

If you experience anxiety about going to the dentist and it’s interfering with your oral health plan, sedation dentistry may be an option for you. Search the 123Dentist network of Canadian dentists to find a dentist offering sedation dentistry near you.

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