What is IV Conscious Sedation?

By Valerin Dental Group
February 03, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

Visiting the dentist can be a nerve-wracking undertaking. Learn how IV conscious sedation can help calm your nerves.

If your palms sweat or your heart races at the thought of going to the dentist, you're not alone. Up to 20% of American adults completely avoid the dentist's chair because of their persistent fear of the equipment, the anesthesia or the loss of control. However, this avoidance can lead to more serious problems that could result in unnecessary pain and added expense if a dental emergency arises.

At Valerin Dental Group, conscious sedation through an IV is a mild but effective way of alleviating dental anxiety.

How it works

IV is short for intravenous, which means that the sedatives are administered into a vein. An extremely fine needle is inserted directly into a vein close to the surface of your skin, usually near your elbow or on the back of your hand. You may be given nitrous oxide ("laughing gas") or a topical anesthetic if you are concerned about the IV insertion.

Once the IV is in place, the sedatives will work very quickly since they will be administered directly into your bloodstream. At this point, it is unlikely you will remember much, if anything, about your entire procedure. Although this process is sometimes referred to "sleep dentistry," you are not actually asleep as you would be under general anesthesia. Conscious sedatives simply produce a feeling of deep relaxation. Coupled with the amnesia-like effects, these drugs allow you to receive dental work comfortably and anxiety-free.

Side effects

The side effects as the sedative wears off are generally minimal. Many people find they are fairly alert as soon as the IV medication is stopped. You will need a friend or family member to drive you home from the appointment, as the medicine is not completely cleared from your system until 24 hours after the end of your appointment. For that reason, you should plan to stay home and not operate any heavy machinery during that time frame.

IV sedation should not be used if someone will likely respond just as well to oral sedatives or nitrous oxide. A thorough consultation at Valerin Dental Group in Peoria will help determine which relaxation method is best for you.