Each year, millions of Americans skip dental appointments because they are afraid to go to the dentist. Some skip due to fears about the safety of various procedures, while the vast majority skip due to concerns about the pain they’ll experience.
While modern dentistry offers numerous safe and effective sedation options for patients, intravenous (IV) sedation is the best all-around choice.
HOW DOES IV SEDATION WORK?
Unlike other forms of sedation that are inhaled (like nitrous oxide) or delivered in pill form, IV sedation involves your dentist administering powerful, fast-acting sedatives through a vein in your arm. He will make sure the initial IV insertion is as pain-free as possible, then closely monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels during the procedure. Your dentist can easily adjust your dosage at any point and can use reversal medications, if necessary.
IV sedation starts working quickly, and helps you feel minimal or no pain during the procedure. You won’t be completely asleep — and you can still respond to verbal commands or gentle nudging — but you probably won’t be aware of or remember anything that happens in the dental chair after the procedure is complete.
This option is best if you suffer from severe dental anxiety, have a strong gag reflex, or if you simply require extensive or complex dental work — like dental implant placement or full mouth reconstruction — as your dentist can perform multiple procedures quickly and efficiently in a single appointment.
pREPARING FOR YOUR PROCEDURE
Prior to your procedure, your dentist will request your complete medical history and give you specific instructions, including recommendations to wear comfortable clothing and directions to avoid eating and drinking 6-8 hours before your visit. He will also advise you to stop taking certain medications (unless previously approved).
After you’ve received IV sedation, you will still be groggy for several hours, so it’s important that you also arrange for someone to pick you up, collect any post-procedure instructions from the dentist, and bring you home. You might also need assistance getting into bed to rest once you arrive.
For the next 24 hours, you should avoid any strenuous activity, unapproved medications, alcohol, operating heavy machinery, driving, or making important decisions. You’ll typically be able to eat normally again within one week. It might take longer if you’ve had work done on both sides of your mouth. And while IV sedation is safe and complications are very rare, you should contact your dentist immediately if you suspect you are having any problems.
Note: Since our dentists are certified to perform IV sedation, there is no need for you to pay for an outside anesthesiologist.
Has fear caused you to put off your next visit to the dentist? IV sedation can help you get the dental care you need. Click here to make an appointment today.