Intravenous sedation, or IV sedation, works through a sedative drug given through an injection. This makes you rapidly relax but not actually sleep. The dentist adjusts the amount of sedation for your particular procedure. It’s also known as ‘twilight dentistry’ or ‘sleep dentistry’.
You’re conscious but very relaxed during the procedure, and you won’t feel any pain. Afterwards you have no memory of the treatment and it will feel like no time has passed. Once the treatment is completed, recovery is faster than with general anaesthesia.
Is IV sedation and general anaesthesia the same?
No – with IV sedation you’re conscious during the whole procedure, but you are very, very relaxed and in a sleep-like state. You also recover far more quickly than if you’d had a general anaesthetic.
You avoid the risk of complications from a general anaesthetic. People with diabetes, obesity, sleep apnea, a history of seizures or who smoke can be at greater risk of complications during general anaesthesia.
When would you have IV sedation?
IV sedation is particularly good if you’re extremely anxious about dental treatments, or you need considerable dental work completed in a short period of time.
For really anxious patients, IV sedation relaxes you so your treatment can be done without fear. You won’t remember it afterwards and you’ll be fine to drive home safely.
If you’ve left dental work lapse and find you need a lot of urgent treatments you can use IV sedation to get them all out of the way quickly. This can be a great time-saver if you have time pressures or are about to head off on a holiday.
How to deal with dental anxiety
If you or anyone in your family is very anxious about having dental work done, it’s important to let your National Dental Care practitioner know. It’s fairly common for children and adults to have some anxiety about a dental visit, and some people can be extremely anxious. This can lead to avoiding necessary checkups and treatment.
Your dentist has lots of experience making treatments comfortable for people with anxiety, so let them know your concerns. Together, you will be able to get your treatments completed comfortably.
Sometimes this might simply be talking through the process of the treatment to overcome misunderstandings about how treatments are performed. Or you might use “happy gas” for greater relaxation, or decide that intravenous sedation is what you need.
Your National Dental Care team is trained to help anxious patients become comfortable. If you’re overdue for a checkup, book your appointment online now.