IV (intravenous) conscious sedation is a method of delivering sedatives through the bloodstream in order to treat fear or anxiety in dental patients. This type of sedation will allow the patient to fully relax but maintain consciousness throughout the procedure. However, they may not actually remember the procedure itself or even fall asleep.
Using the sedatives intravenously allows the medication to move quickly through the bloodstream and work more efficiently. While you are under sedation, your heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and medication levels will be monitored by your dentist and their staff, which means they will be able to increase or decrease the amount of sedation and provide reversals if necessary.
Is IV Conscious Sedation Right for Me?
There are numerous reasons a patient may opt for IV sedation, including fear or anxiety about visiting the dentist. Anxiety about going to the dentist is not uncommon amongst adults. But it shouldn’t prevent you from keeping a good oral health routine.
If you find yourself putting off making dentist appointments or canceling cleanings due to anxiety, IV sedation can help put you at ease while you are in the chair. This will give your dentist the opportunity to care for your teeth while you barely remember the procedure or gently drift off to sleep.
Another reason you might choose IV sedation is if you have a low tolerance for pain, a strong gag reflex, or highly sensitive teeth. Each of these issues can cause a strong physical reaction that is unpleasant for you. It can also disrupt your procedure. If you jump or jerk while your dentist has their tools in your mouth, you may hurt yourself. This may also lengthen the amount of time you have to spend in the chair.
Having to endure complicated procedures like a tooth extraction might be a reason to use IV conscious sedation. If you feel no nerves, long amounts of time in a dental chair might still put you on edge.
For many procedures, there would be no way for you to take a break. In these cases, it is best if you are asleep. It also makes your dentist’s job easier when they can move efficiently while you sleep.
What Are the Risks of IV Conscious Sedation?
When undergoing any kind of anesthesia or sedation, there are some risks. Patients who have sleep apnea or are obese should talk to their doctor. They are at a higher risk of developing complications.
Some of the risks or side effects of IV conscious sedation include drowsiness that lingers and is hard to shake, headaches, dry mouth, or bruising from the IV site. You may also notice dizziness, light-headedness, or nausea after waking from sedation. Because of these effects, you will need to have a trusted person drive you home after your procedure since it is not safe for you to operate heavy machinery after receiving IV sedation.