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Intravenous (IV) Sedation – Benefits, Needs, Risks, Procedure, Alternatives

Does the thought of tooth extraction or toothache bring fear, anxiety, and unrest? Many people are phobic, not only about going to the dentist to get the tooth extracted, but they are scared of a single dental visit, which they prefer not to have at all. To reduce this anxiety, dentist for specific procedures use IV sedation. Dental worry is one of the most common reasons for people to avoid their dental check-up.

Intravenous (IV) Sedation is also known as monitored anesthesia care (MAC). For all those who would avoid dentists for something like treating the plaque and extraction, IV sedation is an excellent option to take away their anxiety and fear. However, the dentist will only use depending on the severity of the patient’s concern. In dentistry, sedation, or sometimes known as “sleep dentistry” is the use of medication is to help relax the patient during a dental procedure. Sedation is used for everything from aggressive methods to a simple tooth cleaning.

How is IV sedation administered?

An IV sedation is administered through a vein, supervised by a registered nurse or an anesthesiologist. IV Sedation can be administered orally, or the medicine is injected through an intravenous line (IV, in a vein) or injected into a muscle. Majority of the time, the anesthesiologist decides the appropriate method (oral or IV) after the initial assessment of the surgery or the dental process.  The dentist depending on the surgical procedure, the amount of anesthesia to be used.  It may range from a minimal amount or an amount so deep that the patient may not remember what happened.  The anesthesiologist will monitor because it works fast; it is imperative to observe the vital signs, blood pressure, pulse, and oxygen level.

If help is needed while breathing, the doctors or nurses may give patient required oxygen through a mask or IV fluids through a catheter (tube) into a vein directly.

Benefits of IV Sedation:

  • IV sedation brings a state of deep relaxation and a feeling of not being bothered by what’s going on during the dental procedure. The patients often feel fine during treatment.
  • The drugs used for IV sedation produce either limited or full memory loss (amnesia) for the period when the drug first kicks in until it wears off.
  • Depending on the surgical procedure, the dentist uses a range from minimal amount just enough to make a patient drowsy to go in a deep sleep. Patients here can breathe on their own.
  • Intravenous sedation (IVS) has allowed patients to receive the necessary dental treatment. IVS is used for patients with circulatory complications for stabilization of their hemodynamic condition during surgery.
  • A patient comes out of anesthesia quickly and has a higher level of safety. Apart from feeling relaxed, the patient is still able to understand and respond to requests from the dentist even though the patient is unaware of the operation and also to avoid the noise and vibration of the drill.
  • Another benefit is post-operation IV sedation; there is less nausea, vomiting, urinary retention, urinary complications, and malicious hyperthermia (a life-threatening but rare complication of general anesthetic).
  • Patients may be capable of talking, depending on the level of anesthesia used, or instead be in a deep sleep.
  • An IV sedation is safe and effective for those patients wanting minor surgery or a procedure that diagnoses a medical condition (a biopsy).
  • An IV sedation is considered extremely safe for the vast majority of patients.

Uses of IV Sedation

For patients who are urgently afraid of injections, going to the dentist or getting a wisdom tooth pulled or a root canal is an agony. In its place of giving up on having healthy teeth and visiting your dentist, maybe it’s time to consider IV sedation.

When you overlook issues such as dental caries, loose or broken teeth, and other problems, you put your oral health at risk. Furthermore, the problem might become more complex as time passes, which could mean that you’ll need more extensive dental work in the future.

Who Needs Intravenous (IV) Sedation Dentistry?

Patients considering IV sedation for dental procedure often have many reasons.  Below are some such reasons:

  • Phobia related to dental procedures
  • Smallmouth that becomes sore during dental work
  • Resistance to local anesthetic
  • Particularly sensitive oral nerves
  • Past bad dental experience
  • General anxiety disorder
  • Smallmouth that becomes sore during dental work

If you spot any of the above problem areas, consider requesting the dentist about IV sedation. Dental sedation can help patients get through numerous types of dental work, such as tooth extractions, root canal treatment, dental implantation, and more. However, it’s typically not for a regular dental cleaning or, X-rays, daily cleaning, and dental care. Cases of extreme nervousness may be a viable reason for sedation during those procedures, however.

What are the risks of Intravenous Sedation (IV Sedation)?

IV Sedation requires careful monitoring. It is safe only when it is supervised or carried out by a specially trained dentist.

The patient has to make some adjustments to the regular habits and activities before and after getting the IV sedation during a dental visit.  The patient is asked not to drink or eat for eight hours before the dental procedure or treatment. You must have someone bring you and take you from the dentist office. Also, specific instructions will be given about medications before the dental procedure takes place.

What happens before IV Sedation?

  • It will reduce your anxiety and make you feel relaxed
  • It will make you feel sleepy
  • It will make you less conscious of the procedure
  • It will result in partial – or total loss of memory of the procedure

What happens after IV Sedation?

Until the doctors feel you are ready to leave, the patient has to stay in the recovery area.  Usually, it may take an hour or longer, depending on the amount of IV sedation drug injected in the vein. The patient is advised not to drive alone, travel alone, use any machinery, drink alcohol, sign any legal documents, and not use social media.

Dentists who have completed the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) program in deep sedation and general anesthesia can use these more complex techniques like the IV sedation. In some case, a dentist anesthesiologist, who are trained are called to give all levels of sedation and anesthesia.

Alternatives of IV sedation

Local Anesthesia: Local anesthesia is a vaccination of medicine that numbs a small area.  It is typically used to get rid of skin cancer or a skin mole or for surgery.

Regional Anesthesia: Regional anesthesia administered to numb a more substantial section of the body and usually injected lower the waist. Patients are often awake but unable to feel the area that has been anesthetized — traditionally used during childbirth and for the operation of the abdomen, leg, or arm.

General Anesthesia: General anesthesia is administered by placing a mask on the face or intravenous (IV) until the patient loses consciousness. Breathing is monitored and controlled with an endotracheal tube that is inserted into the windpipe — general anesthesia for patients having major surgery, such as knee or hip replacement or open-heart surgery.

Dental anxiety while visiting a dentist is common.  Nervous people, who fear and have concerns about dental procedures need sedation dentistry, which ranges from inhaling nitrous oxide to IV sedation.  An IV sedation is kept for patients who are very anxious about dental visits.  Here you won’t remember what is happening in treatment.

During the initial visit at our San Francisco office, Dr. Mohamed Ali will thoroughly examine your mouth and will present different options and also advise you on the best option, suited for you. The billing experts will check your insurance benefits and offer a complete treatment plan with the financial arrangements. We accept all major dental and medical PPO insurance plans. We also have an in-office Plan for Health for those who don’t have insurance. Additionally, we have partnered with various financial institutions like Care Credit, The Lending Club, Healthcare Finance Solution, to make your treatment very reasonable. We will be delighted to answer all or any of your questions. So sit, relax, and get your dental care. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 415.391.7751.

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This Post Has 30 Comments

  1. Charlotte Fleet

    Thank you for pointing out that one of the benefits of sedation is that it can be used to bring upon a great state of relaxation to the patient. My coworker gets really scared when going to the dentist since she had a bad experience. I think she should look into finding a dentist who can help with dental sedation to make her time more enjoyable.

  2. Rachel Frampton

    I’ve been wanting to have my tooth pulled out because of an extreme toothache. It’s a great thing that you shared how dental sedation can help relax the patients during a dental procedure. This is great because I am scared of pain; I just have that I’ll be able to find a dental clinic that offers this type of service.

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