As in medicine, there are procedures in dentistry that call for IV sedation. Wisdom tooth extraction is one prime example of when a patient is best served by being completely relaxed and unaware of what’s happening. Also, IV sedation can be very helpful for a patient with a sensitive gag reflex or patients with physical or developmental limitations that prevent them from sitting for any length of time. In these situations, we can safely and effectively administer IV sedation in the office.
The Benefits of IV Sedation
Just like nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or oral conscious sedation that are both often used in dentistry, IV sedation is intended to help you relax and keep you completely comfortable throughout your dental treatment. With IV sedation, you also will not experience any anxiety or pain.
While you’re lying in the dentist’s chair, the sedative medication may make you feel as if you are sleeping. However, you are not actually asleep; our doctor and his team will still be able to speak to you and you will be able to respond. Nevertheless, at the conclusion of your visit, you probably won’t be able to remember anything that occurred during treatment.
In addition, with IV sedation our doctor is able to regulate the amount of medication you receive. Depending on the extent of sedation required, he can quickly increase or decrease the level so you are always comfortable.
Starting IV Sedation
The IV in IV sedation stands for intravenous, meaning the sedative medication is delivered through your veins. Usually, a small needle is either inserted into the vein on top of your hand or in the crook of your elbow. For patients who are fearful of needles, our doctor can give you a mild oral sedative before starting the IV, or we can apply a topical anesthetic where the needle will be inserted into the vein.
Before, During & After IV Sedation
For at least eight hours before your scheduled procedure with IV sedation, you should not eat or drink. If you take a daily oral medication, please discuss this with our doctor prior to your appointment. You will need to have a family member or close friend accompany you to our office, stay here during your procedure and drive you home afterward. We encourage patients to wear loose and comfortable clothing if they are having IV sedation.
For our doctor and his trained assistants, your health and safety are our primary concern. Therefore, you will never be left alone while under sedation. Also, we will closely monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, pulse and oxygen level.
Because the sedative medication is delivered into a vein, you will almost immediately feel relaxed and at ease as soon as the IV begins. IV sedation may make you feel chilly, so we have blankets on hand to keep you warm. While you are sedated, Dr. Yoon will be able to safely and efficiently complete your dental care. Several procedures can sometimes be combined into one appointment thanks to IV sedation.
Recovery after IV sedation is individualized. You may feel rather alert after the IV medication is stopped, or you may need some time to fully awaken. Regardless of how you feel immediately after treatment, you must not drive or operate heavy machinery for at least 24 hours. An adult should stay with you for the remainder of the day.
To hasten your recovery, you should rest, sleep and stay well hydrated with water or clear fluids. Depending on the procedure performed, you may or may not be able to eat initially. Our doctor will give you specific instructions to follow for post-operative care.