IV Sedation Dentistry: What to Expect

If you suffer from dental anxiety or have overly sensitive teeth, you might be considering IV sedation dentistry. You’ve heard that this is a way to enjoy a stress-free dental appointment, but you still have some questions. Let’s go over what you can expect during your IV sedation dentistry appointment.

Undergoing Sedation

Your dentist will put you under sedation before beginning your dental procedure. To begin, the dentist will place an IV in your arm or hand. Then, the dentist will push sedative medications through the IV into your bloodstream. The medications will quickly put you into a relaxed, semi-awake state. You won’t be completely asleep like you would be if you were undergoing major surgery. Instead, you can still breathe on your own and respond to the dentist’s instructions, although you won’t be consciously aware.

Adjusting the Sedation

You’ll be monitored the entire time you’re under sedation. Your dentist might need to increase or decrease the sedation level during the procedure. Your dentist can read physical signs to determine if you need more or less sedation and adjust it accordingly. You won’t be aware of what’s going on, so you won’t realize your dentist is making these adjustments.

Coming Out of Sedation

When you undergo IV sedation, it will feel as if time speeds up. Once the procedure is over, your dentist will rouse you from the sedative state, and you’ll be amazed that it is over. It will feel like you were at the dentist for minutes even if you were there for hours. Because of that, dentists often conduct multiple procedures at one time.

Sedation Amnesia

When the procedure is over, don’t be surprised if you won’t have any memory of it. Even though you were conscious enough during the procedure to respond to commands, your memories will be few and far between. You might remember sliding into the dental chair and getting the IV. You might even remember opening wider at one point during the procedure, but the memories will be hazy at best. This is beneficial if you suffer from dental anxiety. You won’t remember any of the sights and sounds you experienced while in the dental chair, so you’ll feel more relaxed the next time you come back.

Going Home After the Procedure

You can expect to feel a bit drowsy after your dental procedure. It can take up to 24 hours for the sedatives to wear off, so you cannot drive yourself home. You’ll need a driver with you, and you should take it easy when you get home. Don’t drink alcohol, drive, make important decisions, or engage in strenuous activity for the 24 hours following the procedure. Once the 24 hours pass, you can resume life as normal.

Don’t let dental anxiety prevent you from getting much-needed dental procedures. Dr. Kwan M. Lee of Clarity Dental Center in Federal Way, Washington, is a licensed and certified provider of IV sedation. Dr. Lee is one of the few general dentists that offer this option for patients. Contact Clarity Dental Center at 253-799-1490 to learn more about IV sedation dentistry.

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