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Intravenous Sedation

Intravenous Conscious Sedation (IV sedation) is when a drug is given into a vein during dental treatment to calm and relax the patient. During treatment, your anxiety will be greatly reduced and you will feel deeply relaxed. You will be able to understand and even respond to questions or requests from your dentist, but you will be less aware of what is happening, and you may feel quite sleepy. You will also probably remember little (if anything) about the procedure.

Will I be Asleep?

Despite some dental websites describing IV sedation as “twilight sleep” or “sleep dentistry,” these terms are more related to deep sedation. Deep sedation would be classified as general anesthesia (although sedation occurs on a continuum). During IV sedation, you will remain conscious (Intravenous Conscious Sedation), yet you will not remember most (or anything at all) of what happened while you were sedated. This is due to the way the drugs work.

First, IV sedation induces a feeling of not being bothered by anything as well as a state of deep relaxation. Secondly, the drugs used for IV sedation cause either full or partial amnesia (memory loss) from the moment the drug first take effect until it wears off. Therefore, time will seem to pass quickly and you will not remember much of what happens during this time. If you are like most people, and remember hardly anything at all, you will probably feel as if you were asleep during the entire procedure.

Advantages of Intravenous Sedation

One advantage of intravenous sedation over oral sedation are that it works quickly, and the dentist will be able to adjust the drugs used during the procedure as needed to ensure you remain completely comfortable and free from anxiety. This is a distinct advantage over oral sedation, where the effects may be somewhat unpredictable. IV sedation is also the method of choice for anyone who does not want to be aware of what is going on during the procedure. Lastly, IV sedation allows you to be more deeply sedated than oral sedation.

It is important to remember, however, that IV sedation should only be performed under the supervision of a dental professional who has been specifically trained in the use of intravenous sedation techniques. Under these circumstances, intravenous dental sedation is completely safe and effective.

When Intravenous Sedation Should Not be Used

If you are overweight with a high BMI (>35) or have high blood pressure with a diastolic pressure over 100, you may not be a good candidate for IV sedation. Other contraindications are having a known allergy to benzodiazepines, being pregnant or nursing, alcohol intoxication and some instances of glaucoma. Heart disease is usually not a contraindication.

Caution should be used before administering IV sedation for those with psychosis, advanced age, impaired lung, liver, or kidney function, and those who suffer from sleep apnea. If you snore heavily or feel you may have sleep apnea that has not been diagnosed, make sure to let your dentist know. Additionally, if you have been taking benzodiazepines for many years, tell your dentist this as well, as your tolerance may be high.

Consult with a Knowledgeable Dentist or Periodontist in Chicago

It is extremely important to consult with an experienced dentist or periodontist in Chicago when it comes to having dental work performed using intravenous sedation. While sedation dentistry has become incredibly common, not all dental professionals have the training and experience necessary to provide you with the expert care you will receive at South Loop Dental Specialists. Reach out to us with any questions you may have – we are always happy to assist you and provide as much information as we can about any of our procedures.

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South Loop Dental Specialists

850 South Wabash, Suite 240
Chicago, IL 60605