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What is IV Sedation Dentistry?

After you have talked with the dentist about your sedation options for your next dental appointment, you and the dentist will review the different types of sedation to determine which is best for you. One of the four types of sedation include IV sedation dentistry. You are able to remain conscious but experience relaxation during your appointment when you regularly feel anxious. IV sedation does not put you to sleep; instead, you are less alert to things going on around you. Specifically, you will not be aware of the dentist performing the examination or procedure in your mouth. Because you are not fully asleep, you will be able to response to the dentist if you are told to move and wake if you are nudged. Intravenous sedation does not usually require patients to have assistance breathing and the dentist will introduce the medication via a needle in your vein.

The benefits of IV sedation over pills or inhaled gases are:

  • The dentist is able to keep your vitals in a healthy range with a dosage specific to you.
  • The medication works quickly in your body to keep you comfortable during your appointment
  • The dentist is able to perform more work during one appointment because the medication is long lasting.
  • A side effect of the medication is amnesia so you won’t recall the visit

Before Your IV Sedation Appointment

The dentist will give you detailed instructions prior to the appointment to ensure your safety. Wearing comfortable clothing is important and avoiding eating and drinking six to eight hours before your sedation will prevent possible interactions. The dentist will need a complete medical history including any medications you are currently using, any reactions to medications, and allergies. Finally, you will need someone to drive you home from the appointment.

During The Appointment

After you arrive at the office and you are seated in the chair, a dental professional will use a needle to introduce an IV into your hand or arm. The IV allows the dentist to give you the sedative as well as any other necessary medications like antibiotics or pain medication. Your pulse, breathing rate and blood pressure will be monitored throughout your appointment to make sure that you are responding well to the medication. The sedation should help you relaxed almost immediately without concerns about the noises, sights, sounds or smells.

After Your IV Sedation

The sedative will remain in your body well after your appointment leaving you drowsy. The person who is driving you home from the appointment can collect any aftercare instructions from the dentist to share with you. It is important to allow yourself at least 24 hours of rest without work, exercise, alcohol, driving, unapproved medication, or major decisions.

Are You a Good Candidate for IV Sedation?

After you share your complete medical history, medications, and allergies with the dentist, you may need to consult with your primary care physician or a specialist for approval. The good candidates for IV sedation are usually:

  • People who need painful dental procedures or multiple procedures
  • People with a strong gag reflex
  • People who experience moderate to high anxiety during dental appointments

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