Sedation dentistry is the discipline in dentistry that manages pain and anxiety through the use of local anesthesia, sedation, and general anesthesia. For patients who suffer anxiety when visiting the dentist, it is sometimes necessary to administer sedative medications before a treatment. These sedatives are administered directly into the blood stream, in a procedure known as intravenous conscious sedation. This enables the patient to relax but also remain conscious during treatment.
Types of Dental Sedation
Sedatives induce a state of deep relaxation. This enables a patient to receive treatments that they would otherwise be too fearful to undergo. Sedation does have some side effects, in particular, memory loss. Many patients can’t remember the treatment after it is finished and suffer amnesia (memory loss) during the time they were sedated. This is common and patients may think they were asleep during the procedure, although this is not the case; they just can’t remember it.
Intravenous, or IV Sedation is the administration of the sedative directly into the vein. This involves a thin needle being inserted into the arm, or back of the hand, from which a plastic tube is connected. This is called a cannula, but is sometimes referred to as a drip. The sedative is fed into the blood stream throughout the cannula during this dental procedure. Before IV sedation can take place, blood pressure needs to be taken and constantly monitored throughout the procedure.
For people undergoing IV sedation, it is important that the patient does not consume food four hours prior to the procedure and do not drink two hours before. After the treatment, it is also important that you don’t drive or conduct any physical activity for the rest of the day. It is also best avoid a heavy meal, as some patients may feel a little nauseated following sedation. It is advisable that patients undergoing sedation have somebody accompany them so they can be escorted home. It is also advisable that you have an adult remain with them until the effects of the sedation have completely worn off. It is important to rest for the remainder of the day and avoid alcohol, and if you experience any unusual symptoms to contact your dentist immediately.
Our dentists are highly trained to provide the entire spectrum of anesthetic services, which generally range from local anesthesia through general anesthesia, for a wide range of dental and surgical procedures, including: General Anesthesia, IV Sedation and Nitrous Oxide.