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Sedation / Sleep Dentistry

This four-part article series provides an in-depth overview of sedation dentistry, what it is, how it works, the benefits it offers and what patients can expect from its different methods of administration.

Welcome to the final installment of this four-part article series on sedation dentistry and what patients need and want to know about this very beneficial branch of dental healthcare. Previously, in Part 3, Drs. Rogers & Bull began describing the different methods for the administration of sedation medications. We looked into oral conscious sedation, which involves taking one or two small pills about an hour prior to dental treatment; and we looked at inhalation sedation, which involves breathing in a mixture of nitrous oxide gas and oxygen whilst in the dentist’s chair. Both achieve the same wonderful, anxiety-free results.

Now, let’s look at the final of the three primary modes of sedation administration…

Intravenous (IV) Sedation

sedation dentistry

For intravenous (IV) sedation, as the name suggests, the calming medications are administered directly into the bloodstream, via an intravenous drip. The effects are similar to the other two methods and will make a patient feel completely calm, relaxed and as though they are in a dream-like state. They are unlikely to remember much about their procedure, although they will be able to respond to the dentist’s questions during treatment.

“The procedure with IV sedation starts out the same as the other methods in that we will sit you down and explain to you in detail what you can expect before you undergo treatment,” says a Colorado Springs dental implant dentist. “We’ll rub a little anesthetic gel on your hand to make sure that you don’t feel any pain when we insert the needle. Once everything is ready and you’re happy to proceed, we’ll gently inject the sedative drug into the IV drip and you’ll notice an increasing sense of sleepiness and relaxation. We’ll do this gradually so that the onset of sedation doesn’t alarm you.

“And when you’re at the desired level of sedation, we’ll begin your treatment. All the while we will be closely monitoring your vitals and the administration of the medications. Once the procedure has been completed, we’ll cease feeding the sedative into the IV tube and you’ll be allowed to recover in your own time. You will probably feel sleepy for quite some time after treatment, so don’t expect to get in your car and drive off home!”

Some Important Facts to Know About Sedation Dentistry

Not all implant dentists are qualified to offer their patients sedation, which means that they will be required to call in a specialist to do it for them. It’s often best to find a dental implant surgeon who also has the necessary training and qualifications to offer sedation, because it’s quicker, easier and eliminates having to foot the bill for the specialist’s services.

You will need to plan accordingly if you are going to be sedated for your dental procedure or treatment. You must arrange transportation from the dental office, because you won’t be fit to drive and you should take the rest of the day off from work. Don’t plan any strenuous activities either: rather have a good rest and wake up the following morning completely recovered.

“In addition to avoiding exercise or any strenuous activities, stay away from alcohol and don’t eat a heavy meal straight after treatment,” advises the Colorado Springs dental implant dentist. “Have a rest first and then enjoy a light meal. You may experience the odd dizzy spell after (especially) IV sedation, so try to limit your activity and lie down if you do feel faint.”

Are there any patients who aren’t considered candidates for Sedation?

Unfortunately, yes, and they are:

  • Patients who have a history of allergic reaction to sedation medications.
  • Patients who are pregnant.
  • Patients with glaucoma or any kind of kidney or lung problem.
  • Patients with blood pressure or heart problems.

Always notify your dentist of any medications or of any allergies you may have to medication, no matter how unrelated you think it may be. “We don’t care if you’ve been taking aspirin for a headache: tell us about it. Being on medication or having an illness that might keep you from receiving sedation doesn’t mean you can’t receive treatment. We may be able to find a creative way around the problem by seeking the advice of your doctor.


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