Dental anxiety can create a huge obstacle to taking care of your teeth. Almost 22 percent of people skip their dental appointments because they fear the dentist, according to the American Dental Association. Thankfully, modern dentistry provides several solutions for finding peace of mind in the dental chair. IV sedation dentistry is just one of those options for easing your dental anxiety. Find out if IV sedation is right for you.
What Is IV Sedation Dentistry?
Before your dentist schedules you for IV sedation, you will undergo a health evaluation, including a review of your medical history and medication use. Patients who are older or have significant medical considerations might first require a consultation with their primary care physician or medical specialist. Typically, good candidates for IV sedation include:
- Those with moderate to high dental anxiety
- Those who need more painful dental work
- Those with a strong gag reflex
- Those who need longer or multiple procedures
Ultimately, your dentist knows best if IV sedation is right for you. However, the ability to offer IV sedation requires extra training, so check with your dental office to see what’s available. If dental anxiety prevents you from receiving the treatment you need, know your options for relaxing and comfortable oral care.
Can any Dentist perform IV Sedation?
Most dentists can administer minimal sedation (such as nitrous oxide or pills). However, only a small percentage of dentists who have completed the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) program in deep sedation and general anesthesia can use these more complex techniques. You can rest assured Dr Buse has had all the training and is certified with CODA to safely administer IV sedation.
How to Prepare for IV Sedation
Because you will forfeit some of your mental faculties, you will need to prepare more for IV sedation than you do for a typical dental appointment. Here’s what you can expect before, during, and after your IV sedation:
Your dentist will provide explicit instructions before your appointment. Usually, these involve recommendations to wear comfortable clothing, avoid eating or drinking 6-8 hours before sedation and stop taking certain medications (unless previously approved). You will need to provide a complete medical history and alert your dentist to any changes beforehand. Also, line up a driver to take you to the appointment and pick you up.
Once you make it to the dental chair, your dentist will start an IV in your hand or arm. If you need any other medications — such as pain medicine, anti-inflammatories, or steroids — you will usually receive these through your IV, too. Your dentist will monitor your pulse, breathing, and blood pressure throughout the procedure to watch for any adverse reactions. You should immediately feel relaxed and unaware of any sights, smells, or sounds.
After the procedure, you might feel slightly drowsy for several hours. Your driver will collect any post-procedure instructions from your dentist and take you home. You will need to clear your calendar for the next 24 hours and avoid strenuous activity, unapproved medications, alcohol, operating heavy machinery, or making major life decisions. Complications with sedation are rare but contact your dentist immediately if you suspect any problems.