What is IV Sedation Dentistry?Sedation dentistry refers to the practice of using medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. There are different levels sedation dentistry. They range from mild sedation to full anesthesia. Depending on the procedure and your level of anxiety, your dentist can help you decide what procedure is correct for you. The levels of sedation include:
- Minimal sedation where you are awake but relaxed.
- Moderate sedation where you are still conscious but unlikely to feel or remember anything
- Deep sedation where you are on the edge of consciousness but can still be awakened.
- General anesthesia where you are completely unconscious.
What Types of Sedation Do Dentists Use?
Inhaled Minimal SedationWith this type of procedure, you will inhale nitrous oxide, which is also known as laughing gas. The gas helps you relax. This is the lowest form of sedation that dentists offer. Nitrous oxide wears off quickly which means you return to normal quickly after the procedure. This allows you to drive yourself home, or return to work after your procedure.
Oral SedationOral sedation can range from minimal to moderate, depending on the dose. Usually, your dentist will give you the drug Halcion, which is similar to Valium. Most of the time the dentist will provide you with the pill one hour before your procedure. Halcion will make you drowsy but you will still be awake. Furthermore, your dentist can increase the dose of the drug in order to increase the level of sedation. Oral sedation is the most common procedure with regard to sedation dentistry.
IV Sedation DentistryIV sedation dentistry is exactly what it sounds like. Your dentist will give you a anesthetic intravenously. This method allows a dentist to continually adjust the level of sedation. Your dentist can use IV sedation to make you completely unconscious. You will stay unconscious until the effects of the drug wear off or you are given another drug to counteract the effects. IV sedation is best for long and difficult dental procedures.
Is Sedation Dentistry Right for You?Sedation dentistry is most appropriate for people with a high level of anxiety of fear of the dentist. If you struggle with your oral health because of fear of the dentist than it may be wise to discuss the possibility of sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry may also provide benefits to people who:
- Have a low pain threshold
- Find it difficult to sit still in the dentist’s chair
- Have extremely sensitive teeth
- Require long and complex dental procedures
- Or, have a bad gag reflex