IV stands for intravenous. Medication that is administered intravenously is administered through the veins. Because of its rapid effects many patients prefer this option.
IV sedation medication is delivered through a very small needle placed in either the top of your hand or within your inner elbow.
Fear of needles is not uncommon and some patients aren’t able to tolerate IV sedation for this reason. However, most people describe the sensation as a small pinch or prick. Also, dentists can further reduce the feeling by giving you an oral sedative beforehand and/or applying a topical anesthetic where the needle will be placed.
Just like other forms of sedation dentistry, IV sedation is designed to relax you and make you completely comfortable. IV sedation also eliminates your anxiety and pain. Although you may lie back in the dental chair with your eyes closed, you will not be asleep during your appointment and will still be able to respond to verbal cues from your dentist. Because you are completely relaxed, your dentist can accomplish more high-quality dentistry in less time. IV sedation can benefit you if you have a sensitive gag reflex or difficulty sitting in a dental chair for long periods of time. You’ll be so relaxed that you’ll be unaware of the sights, smells and sounds of the dental office. Patients remember little-to-nothing of their appointment by the next day.
IV sedation gives your dentist optimal control of the amount of medication administered and allows them to readily increase or decrease your level of sedation as needed, quickly and comfortably.
An additional benefit of IV sedation includes faster onset of the sedation medications, meaning you’ll be able to feel the effects of the medication quickly.
Your first appointment with the dentist will be a standard consultation. This is when your dentist will take a complete health history, conduct a full evaluation of your needs, perform a preliminary oral exam and explain the procedures being recommended. Your blood pressure, oxygen level and heart rate will all be measured, and your dentist may choose to complete x-rays during this appointment as well. It’s critical to tell your dentist about all medications and supplements you take so they can check for any potential drug interactions with the sedation medications that will be used. As with all dentistry, safety comes first! Once a treatment plan is agreed upon, your dentist will have you fill out paperwork giving your consent for treatment, answer any questions you may have and issue pre-appointment instructions and/or medications. Your dentist may choose to contact your primary care physician or any medical specialists you see for a consultation. This is done to ensure that you’re a good candidate for the type of treatment being proposed.