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IV Sedation

Intravenous – (inner vein) sedation is another way to help apprehensive patients cope with maintaining their dental care. This type of sedation can be used for small procedures or for difficult restorations. If you have tried other types of sedation before without success, talk to your dentist about IV sedation.

Your dentist will work with you to see if IV Sedation is right for you. First, your dentist will perform a complete dental check-up. Then, they will request your complete medical records to make sure you healthy enough for IV Sedation.


IV Sedation or General Anesthesia

There is a common misconception that these two are the same. IV Sedation allows the patient to remain in a semi-awake low anxiety state, while general anesthesia puts the patient in a sleep state. General anesthesia also requires monitoring the patient’s breath, heart rate, and controlling the level of medication by an anesthesiologist. During an IV sedation you are able to respond to voice commands and light physical touch. Also, you need no assistance to control breathing and heart rate. Overall, IV sedation carries less risk than general anesthesia.


Preparing for your IV Sedation Appointment

Before your IV sedation appointment you will be given instructions for the day of your treatment. For your sedation you will need to:

  • be accompanied to and from the dental office
  • not to eat or drink from midnight of the day before
  • ask your primary care physician and your dentist if you should take your prescription before your appointment
  • wear comfortable clothes
  • remove any contact lenses, oral appliances like dentures, and jewelry

These measures are all for your safety and wellbeing while you are sedated.

While you are sedated your dentist and staff members will closely monitor your vital signs. They will be checking your blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen level, and heart function. Supplemental oxygen may given as well.

When your procedure is finished the dentist will wait to send you home until it is safe for you to leave and some of the sedative has worn off.

After your treatment your dentist will give you aftercare instructions to make sure that you heal quickly and without infection. Post-treatment you can start eating and drinking soft foods after the numbness has worn off. You’ll also want to drink water as you may experience some dehydration being without food or liquids for quite some time. As with any complex dental procedure, you will want to avoid the teeth and jaw that have had work done while eating. Your dentist will probably recommend a soft diet.

If you are still in pain after your appointment, avoid taking any other sedatives the day of as it may deepen lingering effects of your IV sedation. Instead, reach for a non-narcotic medication like Tylenol or Advil to control any discomfort.


Dentists Who Can Administer IV Sedation

Due to the complexity of IV Sedation, dentists who wish to perform this procedure must take additional certifications. The American Dental Association has set guidelines for dentists to meet or exceed to receive a permit to practice IV Sedation Dentistry. In addition, doctors must pass a comprehensive exam, complete emergency life saving training, and pursue continuing education on a regular basis.


IV Sedation is a Choice

Any patient can choose IV Sedation for simple or complex procedures. In simple procedures IV sedation can provide dental health care for people who have anxiety that would prohibit them from seeking dental care otherwise. In complex procedures, like wisdom teeth removal or placing a dental implant, time can fly by. IV sedation leaves you comfortable, rested, removes the majority of anxiety, and you will have little to no memory of the procedure.

If you have anxiety about your next appointment, call Ann Arbor Smiles to see if IV Sedation is right for you!

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