A recent study showed that 19% of people surveyed experience dental anxiety. This fear can be so debilitating that it prevents a person from visiting the dentist. This can have a negative impact on one’s oral health.
There are many strategies people use to reduce dental anxiety: meditation, mindfulness, and therapy are just a few. If these methods don’t work, many people are left wondering how to reduce their dental anxiety.
One anxiety-reducing method many people have success with is IV sedation. But what is IV sedation? This article will cover the basics of IV sedation: what it is, how it works, and how to tell if it’s the right choice for you.
What Is Dental IV Sedation?
IV sedation is a method of administering anesthesia during medical procedures. During IV sedation, anesthesiologists administer anesthetic drugs intravenously, or directly into the vein. This results in a faster anesthetic effect since the drug is going directly into the bloodstream.
IV sedation is also called “conscious sedation.” This means the patient is not fully “asleep,” but is instead in a sleep-like state. Patients under IV sedation can respond to verbal cues and minimal stimuli but feel no pain during their procedure.
IV sedation also affords the patient a sense of comfort and calm.
Many people wonder what’s in IV sedation. The class of drugs used for IV sedation is typically benzodiazepines. This includes diazepam (Valium), midazolam (Versed), and lorazepam (Ativan.)
Is IV Sedation Safe?
When administered by an anesthesiologist (like the ones on staff at All Smiles Dental Spa), IV sedation is safe and effective. It is, comparatively speaking, safer than general anesthesia. It’s important for anyone seeking IV sedation to give the doctor and anesthesiologist their full medical history.
During IV sedation, medical professionals monitor the patient’s vitals to ensure their health and safety.
Other Types of Dental Sedation
Other than IV sedation, there are other types of sedation used during dental procedures. Here are the differences between them.
The patient takes oral sedation in the form of a pill before the procedure. Depending on the type of procedure, patients take oral sedatives either the night before or the morning of their procedure. Oral sedation is another type of “conscious sedation.”
When a person takes an oral sedative, they are awake during their procedure, but often have no memory of it. Oral sedation typically leaves the patient sleepy. They will need someone to drive them home after their procedure is over.
Inhalation sedation is also often known as nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas.” Patients receive laughing gas through a breathing apparatus placed over their nose and mouth. Nitrous oxide does not make the person fall asleep, but it relaxes and calms them.
Because it is a gas, nitrous oxide wears off quickly when the patient is not breathing it in. Because of this, most patients can drive home after a procedure during which they received an inhaled sedative.
IV Sedation Pros and Cons
There are many benefits to using IV sedation, especially if a person suffers from dental anxiety. That doesn’t mean that IV sedation isn’t without its downsides. Here are some pros and cons of using IV dental sedation.
IV Sedation Pros
The most compelling reason for IV sedation dentistry is that it removes the barrier of fear for people with severe dental anxiety. This allows them to receive essential oral healthcare that they may be otherwise too anxious to seek.
Another benefit of IV sedation is that it takes effect quickly. Because it’s administered directly into the bloodstream, the patient begins to feel almost immediate relaxation once they receive the drug. Oral medication can take upwards of one hour to take effect.
With IV sedation, the anesthesiologist has full control over the medication. A person under IV sedation is constantly monitored. Once the patient has achieved the desired level of relaxation, the medical professional can turn off the stream of medication.
If the patient begins showing signs of consciousness, the anesthesiologist can give more medication quickly.
IV Sedation Cons
As with any medication, there are some disadvantages to IV sedation. The primary drawback is that IV sedation can be expensive and is often not covered by insurance. Patients should check with their insurance provider before seeking IV sedation.
Another slight disadvantage is that IV sedatives leave the patient groggy for an hour or more after their procedure. This means that someone will have to drive the person home after their procedure. The patient should not operate a vehicle for several hours following IV sedation.
Is IV Sedation Right For Me?
Now that you’ve learned about IV sedation, you are probably wondering, “Can I get IV sedation?” If you are in general good health, the answer is probably, “yes.”
If you experience intense anxiety or fear during dental exams, IV sedation may be a good choice for you. IV sedation is fast-acting, making it a good option for anyone with dental anxiety. With quicker sedation, there is less time for worry and anxiety to build.
Another good candidate for IV sedation is a person with a sensitive gag reflex. Many people with strong gag reflexes have a hard time receiving dental care. IV sedation acts as a relaxant and can help curb a strong gag reflex.
People who have problems with local anesthesia are good candidates for IV sedation. Some patients find local anesthesia doesn’t fully “take,” resulting in lingering sensation during their procedure.
The goal of anesthesia is to eliminate pain. This makes IV sedation a good choice for people who struggle with local anesthesia.
Your health history is a strong factor in whether IV sedation is right for you. Make sure to give your dental professional your full medical history to ensure your safety and comfort during your procedure.
IV Sedation: A Solid Choice
IV sedation is an excellent choice for most people whether they struggle with dental anxiety, have issues with local anesthesia, or are seeking a more comfortable experience.
Always make sure you consult with your doctor before choosing IV sedation. They can help decide whether you are a good candidate for IV sedation.
For more health tips, visit the “Lifestyle & Health” section of our website.