Are you a nervous dental patient? Has this fear previously stopped you taking care of your oral health? In these cases, the team Docklands Dental can help! We have completed postgraduate specialized training to administer Intravenous Conscious Sedation Dentistry (“IV Sedation or Sedation Dentistry”). This is when a drug, usually of the anti-anxiety variety, is administered into the blood system preceeding dental treatment making multiple and extensive treatments possible for nervous dental patients. Sedation Dentistry has been a revelation in the treatment of all kinds of nervous dental patients.
Below is a full description of what to expect with Sedation Dentistry.
What does it feel like? Will I be asleep?
In reality, you remain conscious during conscious IV sedation. You will also be able to understand and respond to requests.
However, you may not remember much (or anything at all) about what went on because of two things:
- IV sedation induces a state of deep relaxation and a feeling of not being bothered by what’s going on
- The drugs used for IV sedation produce either partial or full memory loss (amnesia) for the period of time when the drug first kicks in until it wears off. As a result, time will appear to pass very quickly and you will not recall much of what happened. Many people remember nothing at all. So it may, indeed, appear as if you were “asleep” during the procedure.
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Is it still necessary to be numbed with local anaesthetic?
The drugs which are usually used for IV sedation are not painkillers but anti-anxiety drugs. While they relax you and make you forget what happens, you will still need to be numbed.
If you have a fear of injections, you will not be numbed until the IV sedation has fully kicked in. If you have a phobia of needles, you will very probably be relaxed enough not to care by this stage.
How is IV sedation given?
“Intravenous” means that the drug is administered directly into a vein. An extremely thin needle is put into a vein close to the surface of the skin in either the arm or the back of your hand.
Throughout the procedure, your pulse and oxygen levels are measured using a pulse oximeter. This gadget clips onto a finger or an earlobe and measures pulse and oxygen saturation. Blood pressure before and after the procedure are checked with a blood pressure measuring machine.
What are the Drugs that are used?
Benzodiazepine, usually midazolam, is used. A typical IV session takes up to 1 1/2 hours.
Is it safe? Are there any contraindications?
IV sedation is extremely safe when carried out under the supervision of a specially-trained dentist. All our treating dentists have done an 18 month training course in the Dublin Dental Hospital for conscious sedation.
However, contraindications include:
- known allergy to benzodiazepines
- alcohol intoxication
- CNS depression
- some instances of glaucoma
What are the main advantages of IV sedation?
- IV sedation tends to be the method of choice if you don’t want to be aware of the procedure – you “don’t want to know”.
- The onset of action is very rapid, and drug dosage and level of sedation can be tailored to meet the individual’s needs. This is a huge advantage compared to oral sedation, where the effects can be very unreliable. IV sedation, on the other hand, is both highly effective and highly reliable.
- The maximum level of sedation which can be reached with IV is deeper than with oral or inhalation sedation.
- Benzodiazepines produce amnesia for the procedure.
- The gag reflex is diminished
- Unlike General Anaesthesia or Deep Sedation, conscious IV sedation doesn’t really introduce any compromises per se in terms of carrying out the actual procedures, because people are conscious and they can cooperate with instructions, and there is no airway tube involved.
After IV Sedation
- Have your escort take you home and rest for the remainder of the day.
- Have an adult stay with you until you’re fully alert.
- Don’t perform any strenuous or hazardous activities and don’t drive a motor vehicle for the rest of the day.
- Don’t eat a heavy meal immediately. If you’re hungry, eat something light, e. g. liquids and toast.
- If you experience nausea, lie down for a while or drink a glass of coke.
- Don’t drink alcohol or take medications for the rest of the day unless you’ve contacted your dentist first.
- Take any medications as directed.