What is IV Sedation and Who Can It Help?

Woman sedated at dentistRegular dental care is just as important as brushing and flossing; however, the American Dental Association reports that 22% of people delay appointments because they are concerned about pain. If you’re worried about anxiety, pain, or a complex procedure, you have many options to sit back and relax in the dentist’s chair with sedation dentistry. IV sedation is a popular conscious sedative that will allow you to sleep through your appointment. Whether you need a cleaning and checkup or dental work, here’s how to determine if IV sedation is right for you.

What is IV Sedation?

IV sedation is reserved for patients with unique situations. The sedative is delivered intravenously, which allows your dentist to deliver the exact amount for your needs. Contrary to common belief, you aren’t “put to sleep.” Instead, you’ll reach a deep level of relaxation where you’ll be less aware of your surroundings. You may not even notice your dentist performing any procedures. However, since you’re not unconscious, you can still respond to verbal commands and slight nudging. Not to mention, you won’t need help breathing, like with general anesthesia. 

Your dentist will review any instructions before your appointment, like not eating or drinking for 6-8 hours prior to your procedure. They may also recommend stopping certain medications. After your appointment, you’ll need someone to pick you up because it can take a few hours for the sedative to wear off fully. You’ll be instructed to spend the next 24 hours relaxing because you may feel a little groggy.

Overall, IV sedation offers several benefits when used for the ideal candidate, including:

  • The effects kick in quickly, so you’ll feel little to no pain during your treatment.
  • Your dentist can adjust the dosage easily while monitoring your vitals.
  • Enjoy a longer time of amnesia to have no memory of the procedure.
  • Makes it easier to remain in one position for an extended time.

Who is a Candidate for IV Sedation?

Not everyone is a candidate for IV sedation. The only way to know if it’s right for you is by having a consultation with your dentist. They will review your medical history, including any prescribed or OTC medications. Patients with certain medical conditions or the elderly may need prior approval from their primary care physician. IV sedation can help patients with:

  • Moderate to severe dental-related phobias or anxieties.
  • Extensive or painful dental work.
  • A strong gag reflex.
  • Difficulty keeping the jaw open.
  • Complex or lengthy treatment plan.

Your dentist will create the personalized plan you need to keep your smile healthy without dreading the dentist. Stop putting your oral health needs on hold. Find out if you’re a candidate for sedation dentistry today.

About Dr. Roman Kotlarek

Dr. Kotlarek earned his dental degree from the University of Texas Health and Science Center in San Antonio and has regularly pursued continuing education in advanced care, like sedation dentistry. He is a member of the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology and many other professional organizations. Contact our office today to request a consultation.