IV sedation, also known as monitored anesthesia care, is when an anti-anxiety drug is administered intravenously during your dental treatment.
IV sedation is when a certified dentist administers medication through the blood using an IV inserted into your vein. You will be in a depressed state of awareness during IV sedation but still able to respond to your dentist’s instructions. You will be very relaxed and calm. Likely, you will not remember most of the appointment afterward. IV Sedation is ideal for fearful and anxious patients because it is very predictable. It is also commonly used when patients have complicated procedures such as wisdom teeth extractions, surgical extractions, tooth pain or a lot of dental work needed in one visit.
Some patients do not like needles, so sometimes the dentist will prescribe an oral sedative to be taken the night before or morning of the procedure to ease the anxiety of setting up the IV.
IV Sedation medications are benzodiazepines, which include diazepam (Valium) and midazolam. Today, midazolam is most often used for dental procedures.
Narcotics such as fentanyl can be employed simultaneously to increase the levels of sedation and pain control.
During IV sedation, your dentist will still use a local anesthetic to numb the area where he is working. The IV sedation does not inhibit pain like the local anesthetic. Its primary purpose is to create a deep level of relaxation and peace.
Pros of IV Sedation:
- Very Predictable
- As soon as the IV mediations are administered, the patient begins to feel relaxed. It is easy to control the depth of sedation and increase or decrease as needed throughout the procedure.
- Patients will recall very little (if any at all) of the procedure once it is complete. They will still be able to respond and talk throughout the procedure if needed.
- All normal body functions, such as breathing and speaking, are possible during the procedure. However, you will be in a much more relaxed and comfortable state of mind.
- Increase Safety
- With an established IV line, it is easy to give emergency drugs if necessary. Unlike most dentists, dentists trained in IV sedation are Advanced Cardio Life Support (ACLS) certified and can provide medications if necessary.
- Additional Medications (If Necessary)
- We can give additional medications to control common issues like swelling, nausea and infection if they are required.
Cons of IV Sedation:
- Patient Cannot Drive
- Patients who have been sedated are not permitted to drive the day they take the medications. They will need someone to drive them to and from their appointment. The driver is not required to stay in the office for the entire procedure, but they will need to arrive within 15 minutes of our call for pickup.
- No Food or Drink Six Hours Before Procedure
- You will need to plan ahead and make sure you do not eat or drink anything prior to the procedure. This is important because you can experience nausea and vomiting if you have eaten or ingested liquid.
Only a small percentage of dentists nationwide are certified in IV sedation. Your IV sedation dentist must complete courses certified by the American Dental Association and pass a comprehensive on-site exam monitored by the state’s dental board. These professionals must regularly acquire additional hours of training in emergencies and sedation to maintain their permit.