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IV Sedation

Intravenous sedation involves giving you an injection of sedative drug through a plastic tube into a vein either in your arm or the back of your hand. The sedative will relax you and make you feel sleepy during the treatment.

Are you a Candidate for IV sedation? 

If you have any of the following:

  • Fear of dental treatment 
  • History of traumatic dental experiences 
  • Complex dental problems, requiring long treatment sessions or a need for surgery
  • Find it difficult to become numb enough for treatment
  • Very sensitive gag reflex or difficulty opening
  • Extremely sensitive teeth
  • Have not received professional dental care in many years because of anxiety
  • Go from dentist to dentist, or doctors, to renew painkiller prescriptions for dental problems

How will sedation make me feel?

You will feel very relaxed and sleepy but you will not be unconscious, you will be able to hear the dentist and nurse, understand and respond accordingly. You will feel a sense of detachment, but you will not lose your protective reflexes such as the ability to cough.

You will be less aware or anxious about what is going on and after the procedure you will have little recollection of the appointment.

What are the advantages and benefits?

Intravenous sedation reduces anxiety and stress, this allows you to cope better with dental treatment. Sometimes if you are worried about a particular treatment such as extractions you may prefer to have sedation.

Amnesia is one of the side effects of conscious sedation. After treatment, if you have been sedated, you are unlikely to remember all the details of the dental procedure. You will feel that the procedure lasted only some minutes, even if it has lasted for several hours.

Certain invasive dental procedures such as gum surgery or multiple extractions can be a challenging experience, with treatment under sedation you will therefore find coming to the dentist in the future less of an ordeal.

Consciousness is maintained throughout the procedure so we are able to communicate with you and you are able to respond and understand commands.

The recovery time is very short.

What are the disadvantages and risks?

You will need a small injection in your arm or back of your hand for us to administer the drugs, we can use topical anaesthetic if you would prefer this.

Intravenous sedation is very low risk. The drugs used can slow down your breathing, we overcome this by constantly monitoring your breathing and oxygen concentration in your blood, we will give you top up oxygen if you need this.

You may have a bruise where we place the injection on the back of your hand or arm but this will fade within a few days.

You will require someone to escort you to and from the appointment and be solely responsible for you for 24 hours following the procedure.

Who will sedate me?

Dr Joanna Sutcliffe will administer the sedation at El Nashar Dental Care, she is assisted by a registered sedation qualified nurse who will monitor you throughout the procedure.

The alternatives

The other options available are treatment under local anaesthetic, which is an injection in your gum to numb that particular area, or multiple shorter visits. The alternative of general anaesthesia, is performed in hospital and has a much higher risk involved; this will be recommended for anxious patients who are not suitable for intravenous sedation due to medical health or specific disabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions we get asked about sedation by our patients:

What happens during the sedation appointment?

Before the sedation is administered the nurse will take your blood pressure and oxygen saturation, we will check that you are happy to proceed and understand what will happen.

The sedative used is Midazolam, well suited for intravenous sedation as it brings about a general state of relaxation. The recovery period is smooth and quite short, with no feelings of nausea. This is given through a small plastic tube either in the back of your hand or the inside of the elbow, it is a very small needle that is used and the process is very quick and simple.

The Midazolam will be given slowly through this tube in small doses, we will monitor your responses to enable us to know if you are sedated enough, treatment will only proceed when you are completely relaxed and happy.

You will be monitored throughout by nurses who have specific and recognised training we also use medical monitoring equipment to record your pulse, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels and breathing rate during the treatment and in the recovery period.

What happens after I am sedated?

Local anaesthetic will be used to numb the specific area in your mouth. We will ensure you are as comfortable as possible during the procedure, at any point you can let us know if you want a break or feel any discomfort.

At the end of the procedure you will be in recovery for 20-30 minutes, we will continue to monitor you, you will feel drowsy and sleepy, and we will discuss with your escort the post-operative care. Once we are happy that you are recovered fully and fit to discharge we will remove the plastic tube and you will be able to leave with your escort, you will want to go home and sleep off the effects of the drug.

How long will the sedation last?

The appointment length varies depending on what treatment you require, you will also remain in the surgery during recovery until we feel you are well enough to discharge, we will ensure you know roughly how long you will be in the surgery for at your assessment appointment.

We sedate you to a safe level so that recovery is straight forward and quick.

The effects of the sedative agent remain in your system for hours so it is essentially important that you and your escort follow the post-operative instructions.

You will not be able to drive, operate machinery, make important decisions, use domestic appliances, sign legal documents, make online purchases, drink alcohol or return to work.

How can I prepare for my appointment?

We will run through the pre-operative advice at your assessment appointment. You will require a full dental assessment to ensure we are providing you with the correct treatment. We ask you to wear sensible footwear, loose clothing (so we can roll your sleeves up), to remove nail varnish and false nails.

You will require a responsible adult to escort you to your appointment and home again, this escort will have to wait in the waiting room whilst the procedure is carried out. This person needs to be able to look after you for the rest of the day, they must not have children or elderly or dependent relatives to look after.

Do not drink alcohol or take recreational drugs 24 hours prior to your appointment.

If your medicines change we need to know, please take all medicines as prescribed unless directed otherwise.
If you have children you will have to arrange someone other than your escort to look after them, please do not bring them to the appointment.

If you develop a cold, feel unwell or think you may be pregnant please call the practice for advice.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Katherine King or Tiffany Redding at El Nashar Dental Care on 01626 212121

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