IV Sedation

Keeping you calm and comfortable during treatment.

What is IV sedation?

relaxed woman in blue shirt and smilingMost dental procedures can and are performed with the use of local anesthesia at Crabtree Dental. Some procedures (such as impacted third molar surgery) and some patients (such as those who are extremely fearful of treatment due to a history of traumatic dental experiences) will benefit from IV sedation during the dental procedure. When this is the case, we will recommend IV sedation to our patients. This is often referred to as “sleep dentistry” or “twilight dentistry”. Intravenous (IV) sedation is a form of anesthesia that sedates you so you will be calm and comfortable during dental treatment. During IV sedation a thin needle is placed in a vein close to the surface of your skin in either the arm or the back of your hand. The needle is only needed to get access to your vein and only feels like a brief pinch. After the pinch the needle is removed immediately and a sterile painless catheter stays in place of it. The catheter is attached to an IV tube through which the necessary drugs and medication will be administered.

Who administers IV sedation at Crabtree Dental?

Dr. Foust provides IV sedation during the surgical procedures he performs. If you have an extensive cosmetic or reconstructive treatment plan necessitating sedation, Dr. Foust provides the sedation service while Dr. Crabtree performs treatment. Dr. Foust has completed a post-doctorate residency program in which he was specially trained for the administration of IV sedation. Additionally Dr. Foust has completed over 1,700 sedations and over 7,000 wisdom tooth extractions. He is also Advanced Cardiac Life Support (A.C.L.S.) Certified and as a member in the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology is continually studying to stay current on the administration of IV sedation.

What are the main advantages of IV sedation?

Sedation helps alleviate anxiety associated with dental treatment. It is ideal for patients who fear or don’t want to be aware of undergoing dental procedures or needle injections of local anesthetics. Third molar surgery is a common dental procedure for which a patient benefits from the relaxation that comes with sedation. IV sedation is both highly effective and very reliable. The onset of drug interaction is very fast, and can be adjusted to meet the patient’s needs. This is a huge advantage compared to oral sedation, where the effects can be less reliable. The primary drug used for IV sedation produces amnesia of the procedure. Compared to general anesthesia, conscious IV sedation does not require an airway tube to be placed in your throat.

What are disadvantages to IV sedation?

A needle must briefly access the vein causing a brief pinch-like feeling. There is a possibility to experience complications at the site where the needle entered, for example you may have some bruising due to a hematoma (a localized swelling filled with blood). Recovery at the end of IV sedation is not finished at the end of your dental procedure. It is required for you to be escorted and driven home by a responsible adult. There is an extra fee associated with IV sedation compared to local anesthesia alone.

Will the IV hurt when it is inserted?

Most patients are surprised to find that having the IV initially placed is more of an uncomfortable feeling rather than a painful feeling.

Will I be asleep during my procedure?

Many dental offices use terms such as “sleep dentistry” or “twilight sleep” when talking about IV sedation. This is confusing because it suggests that IV sedation involves being put to sleep. In reality, you will not be asleep and as such will remain conscious to requests from the doctor administering it. You will not remember much about the procedure because the medications in your IV have an amnesia-like effect. Because of this effect, you’ll feel you were asleep during the procedure.

Do I still need to be numbed with local anesthetic if I am having IV sedation?

You will still need local anesthetic for your dental procedure, but not until after you have been sedated through IV. Because of this, you will likely not remember much about the delivery of the local anesthetics.

What drugs may be used in my IV?

The most commonly used drugs for IV sedation are benzodiazepines, sometimes called “benzos” for short. These drugs are anti-anxiety sedative drugs. You may also receive Dexamethasone, a type of steroid which has been proven to help reduce post-op swelling, and inflammation. In some cases Fentanyl may be placed in your IV which is a narcotic that may help reduce pain and intensify your sedation.

Is IV sedation safe?

IV sedation is extremely safe when carried out under the supervision of a dentist specially trained in its use. IV sedation can be much safer than non IV sedation for extractions. Under IV sedation the patient is much calmer and as a result the blood pressure and pulse does not increase because of anxiety or apprehension during the procedure. In addition, the patient is monitored and already has IV access for administration of emergency drugs in case the need arises.

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