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Intravenous Sedation

Intravenous Sedation

Sedation is an effective and safe technique for assisting patients with anxieties and phobia. A combination of sedative and pain relieving drugs help create a drowsy and dreamlike state of relaxation for the duration of your procedures often avoiding the need for general anaesthesia. Most people remember little of their procedure.

We also offer:

  • Oral sedation
  • Nitrous oxide inhalation sedation

IV sedation tends to be the method of choice if you don’t want to be aware of the procedure – the alternative is oral sedation using midazolam but oral sedation is not as reliably effective as IV sedation.

The onset of action of IV sedation is very rapid, and drug dosage and level sedation can be tailored to meet individual needs. This is a huge advantage compared to oral sedation where the effect of sedation can be very unreliable. IV sedation on the other hand is both highly effective and highly reliable.

The maximum level of sedation which can be reached with IV sedation is deeper than with oral or inhalation sedation.

Benzodiazepines produce amnesia for the procedure

What are the advantages of IV sedation?

IV sedation is useful for all facets of dentistry, but especially useful for patients who:

  • Have significant anxiety about dental procedures including the sound of drills, noises and/or smells
  • Patients who suffer from gag reflex. The gag reflex is hugely diminished – people receiving IV sedation rarely experience difficulty with gagging
  • Can be ideal for those with a phobia of dental injections
  • Have had traumatic dental experiences in the past
  • Undergoing painful, complex treatment / surgery including and not limited to extraction of wisdom teeth and placement of dental implants

What does it feel like? Will I be asleep?

It has been suggested that IV sedation involves being put to sleep. In reality, you remain conscious during IV sedation. You will also be able to understand and respond to requests from your own dentist.

However, you may not remember much about what when on because of two factors; firstly, in most people, IV sedation induces a state of deep relaxation and a feeling of not being bothered by what is going on. Secondly, the drugs used for IV sedation can produce either partial or full memory loss (amnesia) for the period of time when the drug first kicks in until it wears off. As a result, time will appear to pass very quickly and you will not recall much, or perhaps even nothing at all, of what happened. So it may, indeed, appear as if you were asleep during the procedure.

Is It Safe?

IV sedation is extremely safe when carried out under the supervision of a specially trained dentist. Purely statistically speaking, it is even safer than local anaesthetic on its own. However, contraindications exist including pregnancy, known allergy to benzodiazepines, alcohol intoxication, CNS depression and some instances of glaucoma.

Cautions include psychosis, impaired lung, kidney or liver function and advanced age. Heart disease is generally not a contraindication.

How is IV Sedation Administered?

“Intravenous” means that the drug is put into a vein. An extremely thin needle is put into a vein close to the surface of the skin in either the arm or the back of your hand. The needle is wrapped up with a soft plastic tube. The needle makes the entry into the vein, then is slid out leaving the plastic tube in its place. The drugs are put in through that tube. The tube stays in place throughout the procedure.

During the procedure, your pulse and oxygen levels are measured using a “pulse oximeter”. This gadget clips onto a finger and measures pulse and oxygen saturation. It gives a useful early warning sign if you are getting dangerously low on oxygen. Your blood pressure is constantly monitored every 15 minutes using an automatic blood pressure cuff.