If you suffer from dental anxiety, have sensitive teeth or need to undergo a complex treatment or multiple dental treatments, you may be considering IV sedation. You may have heard that sedation dentistry is a great way to enjoy a stress-free dental appointment, but you still have some questions about what it entails and how it can help you overcome your dental phobia.
IV Sedation Dentistry What to Expect: Why You May Need Sedation Dentistry?
If you experience significant dental anxiety, you are not alone. One in seven adults in Australia deals with dental fear. The main contributors to dental anxiety are negative past experiences and fear of pain, but even the sounds and smells in a dental surgery can cause anxiety in some patients.
Dental anxiety creates a cycle that perpetuates the fear. People avoid the dentist because they are anxious, which leads to more significant oral health issues. These issues require invasive dental procedures to solve, which exacerbates the patient’s dental anxiety. IV sedation dentistry can break this cycle by reducing patient stress while at the dentist.
Patients with special needs can also benefit from undergoing IV sedation for their dental procedures. Those with mental illness, a mental handicap, or a traumatic brain injury can benefit from a more relaxed dental experience and less time in the dental chair.
IV sedation is also recommended for more extensive procedures, like wisdom teeth removal, complex root canals, and dental implants. The procedure goes by faster for you, and when you are sedated, your dentist can work more efficiently.
IV Sedation Dentistry What to Expect: Pre-Appointment Considerations
While your dentist will go over what you need to do to be ready, there are some general rules on what to expect. IV sedation requires an empty stomach to reduce nausea and ensure no liquids get into the lungs. You will need to refrain from eating or drinking for at least six hours before your appointment.
You may also want to wear loose clothing during your appointment for comfort. IV sedation requires access to your arm, so any clothing you wear needs to give your dentist easy access to your veins. Before your procedure, inform your dentist about all the prescription medications and supplements you take. You should continue taking all your medications unless otherwise directed.
IV Sedation Dentistry What to Expect: Undergoing Sedation
Intravenous sedation affects your central nervous system, decreasing your awareness of your surroundings. Sedation does not control pain, so dentists use it with a local anaesthetic to minimise your discomfort.
A dental professional trained in anaesthesia sedation monitors your vital signs and administers the sedative into a vein in your arm or hand. The sedation works quickly, and you soon feel very relaxed. You are still conscious and able to answer questions while sedated.
Although you can still breathe independently and follow your dentist’s instructions, IV sedation often causes partial or complete memory loss during the procedure. This results in the feeling that time is passing quickly. Some people do not remember the dental procedure, which can help those with a severe dental phobia feel more relaxed at their next dental appointment.
IV Sedation Dentistry What to Expect: Coming Out of Sedation
Once the dental procedure is complete, at least an hour is needed for the effects of the sedation to start wearing off. You need a responsible adult to bring you to the appointment, stay throughout the procedure, and drive you home after.
You need to remain at the dentist’s office until the dental professional determines it is safe for you to go home. It usually takes 30-45 minutes of monitoring your vital signs before being released.
Going Home After the Dental Procedure
You should have a friend or family member supervise you for three to four hours once you arrive home from your appointment. You will feel drowsy, so don’t make important decisions, exercise or drive.
The best thing you can do after your procedure is rest. You may feel fully functional the same day as your procedure, but it can take 24 hours to return to normal.
IV Sedation Dentistry at Available Dental Care
If you or a loved one needs dental care done but feels anxious about it, consider asking your dentist about IV sedation. Your dentist can answer any questions you have and recommend anxiety-free dental care as a path forward.
At Available Dental Care, we take pride in changing our patients’ perceptions about going to the dentist. With the latest dental technology, like IV sedation, we provide exceptional service and care to our patients. Contact us on (02) 4062 8763 today to learn more about sedation dentistry and our other dental services.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
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ADA Guidelines for Conscious Sedation in Dentistry