IV Conscious Sedation Lots of people are a little anxious when visiting the dentist even when deep down they know there’s really no need to feel any fear. However, for a considerable percentage of the population, these fears are so deep-seated that people will actively avoid seeing a dentist until the pain becomes unbearable. It’s estimated that approximately 15% of the population in the United States actively avoid dental care due to dental anxieties, while around half the population experience some level of fear when receiving dental care.

Why Do Some People Have Dental Anxiety?

Dental fears and phobias can develop in childhood, for example, if a kid’s first experience of dental treatment is when they are already in pain or discomfort. Sometimes dental fears can be inadvertently passed on by parents. They can also develop during adulthood if someone has a negative experience in the dental chair. Even the most rational person can have dental fears, but it is important to try to overcome them.

Compassionate Dental Care for Anxious Patients

If you do experience any form of dental anxiety, then it’s important to understand that help is available. Most dental practices and especially our dental team here at Ivory Dental, pride themselves on providing compassionate and gentle dental care. Our dentist, Dr. Benjamin Hull, always takes the time to talk to people who feel anxious or nervous to discover the reason for their fears and to determine the best way to help them.

Intravenous or IV conscious sedation is frequently a good solution, especially for someone who may have avoided routine dental care for some years and who now requires a substantial amount of treatment to help restore dental health. Intravenous conscious sedation can also be helpful for anybody who needs to reduce their levels of stress during dental treatment, perhaps because of medical conditions.

What Is IV Conscious Sedation?

Intravenous conscious sedation provides a deep level of sedation and although you will still be conscious during treatment, you will feel very relaxed and quite sleepy. Some people will even fall asleep during treatment although they can be easily awakened by the dental team. One of the nice things about IV conscious sedation is that afterward, it’s unlikely you will remember very much if anything about your treatment. With this form of dental sedation, it will only seem as if a few moments have passed by because you will feel so deeply relaxed. It’s a very comfortable solution if you require a longer appointment or more complex treatment, for example, dental implants. The sedative is given intravenously through a small needle and the level of sedative which is administered is continually monitored during your treatment.

Significantly Different from General Anesthesia

Anyone considering IV conscious sedation should understand it is significantly different from general anesthesia where you would be unconscious throughout treatment. With general anesthesia, you are asleep for the duration of treatment and cannot be aroused. General anesthesia is a much more significant form of sedation that carries higher risks, and which requires an anesthesiologist who can continually monitor all your vital signs, including checking that your airway remains open. With IV conscious sedation you are in a semi-awake state and you do not require medical assistance to maintain breathing and heart function. It’s a much safer form of sedation that is routinely used in dentistry.

Is IV Conscious Sedation Safe?

Any type of anesthetic carries a small level of risk, but every precaution is taken to keep you safe. Before your treatment, Dr. Hull will spend quite some time with you to discuss your medical history including any conditions and medications that may affect your dental treatment. If required, Dr. Hull will liaise with your general physician or with other doctors who take care of you, to ensure this treatment is safe and appropriate.

What to Expect during IV Conscious Sedation

With this form of sedation, you will need someone to bring you to your appointment and to take you home. It’s best not to eat or drink after midnight the day before your appointment and choose loose, comfortable clothing. It’s best not to wear jewelry and oral appliances such as dentures or retainers should be removed. Afterward, we will need you to remain with us at Ivory Dental for a short while because we will want to make sure you are okay to go home. Once at home, you should be fine to eat and drink once the local anesthesia has worn off. Be sure to drink plenty of water after intravenous sedation and we can also provide more detailed information about which foods are best to eat. This may depend on the type of treatment provided.

Other Forms of Sedation Which Might Help You

Intravenous conscious sedation can provide you with a safe and comfortable way to receive dental treatment. If you feel you’d like a lighter form of sedation, then we can talk to you about using oral sedatives or nitrous oxide which is better known as laughing gas. These can be highly effective and are suitable for people who only feel mildly or moderately anxious.

No matter your level of anxiety, there are options which can help you. To discover more, simply contact Ivory Dental for a friendly chat with our dental team.