Intravenous Sedation

Dentists and oral surgeons are frequently feared because of their ability to inflict discomfort or pain during the practice of their trade. This is unfortunate because dental health and overall good health have deep connections, and most people who are mindful of their teeth will usually enjoy a greater measure of health than those who ignore or avoid dental care and treatment.

Many people panic over a simple cleaning, and many more get greatly upset over such necessary procedures as fillings or root canals. While they are not pleasant experiences they eliminate health risks and pain and must be performed, and today they can be done on even the most fearful patient through the use of sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry provides many methods of eliminating the anxiety, pain and fears of those seated in a dentist’s chair. They have varying degrees of effectiveness, but will generally alleviate the patient’s tendency to panic or experience pain. One of the most trustworthy methods of sedation is the use of intravenous drugs to induce a “twilight sleep” in the patient. IV sedation allows the patient to retain their consciousness, but prevents them from being aware of the procedures taking place in their mouth. Generally, they will still require numbing agents to be injected into the area being treated, but this is usually done once the IV drugs have taken affect. IV sedation is a highly controlled procedure, and delivers the drugs directly into the blood stream – meaning a patient who expresses discomfort can be sent easily and quickly in a deeper sedation to eliminate any chance of pain. Most people who opt for IV sedation express a loss of awareness about time, and believe that the procedure may have only taken a few minutes, when in fact it may have lasted more than an hour.

Not all patients can choose IV sedation however, and those who are pregnant, of advanced age, who have allergies to certain sedative medications, or whose lungs, kidneys or liver are not in optimal condition, will not be permitted to use this method. IV sedation will also not allow for a patient to drive themselves to and from their visit, as the drugs have a lingering effect. An escort will be required to see the patient home, and usually be sure they are in bed or in a seated position that will allow them to safely rest while the medications are metabolized and eliminated from their system. For those who choose IV sedation the dental experience is remembered as a deeply relaxed period of time, without pain or panic ever becoming an issue. This is a great step forward for those who tend to avoid general dental work, as well as those who may require several visits to complete a procedure, such as oral surgery or a root canal. Being afraid of pain and discomfort is not unusual, in fact it is quite reasonable and normal, but avoiding necessary health care because of fear is not a wise choice. It is a good idea to visit a dentist to discuss the kinds of sedative dentistry they provide for people with phobias about dental work. There are millions of people who have happily transitioned from “dental phobics” to contented patients through the use of IV sedation or other equivalent treatments.