IV Sedation

August 16, 2023

Dental health is important to your overall health and there has been evidence released that now shows the link between dental health and systemic health. The question becomes, why do more people hesitate to seek routine dental care? Many patients struggle with dental phobia and anxiety, or simply don't like having dental care done. For patients with these concerns, sedation is a great option to help relax and receive dental treatment in a way that is comfortable for them.

There are various types of sedation. A common misconception is that sedation is an on and off button.  However, sedation is more like a continuum with different levels. Many variables affect the level of sedation and onset, such as the administration route, drug used, and patient factors including age. Levels of sedation are more appropriately termed minimal, moderate, deep, and general. General anesthesia, as an example, is what is done commonly as in operating rooms in hospitals for more invasive surgeries. Deep sedation is commonly used for outpatient procedures. Dental procedures and some outpatient procedures use what is commonly termed as moderate sedation.

Different from general anesthesia, moderate sedation is a level of sedation that does not require intubation, because it does not inhibit an individual's ability to breathe for themselves. Moderate sedation can be achieved through oral tablets or administered through an IV. Moderate sedation when delivered through an IV is easily titrated because a drug administered through an IV has a fairly immediate response. This makes it easier for a physician to determine if more drugs will be indicated or not indicated and proceed accordingly. Another advantage of IV administration is the ability to reverse sedation that may be unnecessary or unwanted, thus increasing its safety. Moderate sedation still requires the use of local anesthesia for pain management throughout procedures. Another great advantage of moderate sedation is the likelihood that patients will have little to no recollection of the dental procedure completed.

Moderate sedation is effective and safe for most patients, but a thorough medical review is required before administration. Various factors can affect the way a patient should be sedated or if they are even a good candidate for sedation. A patient's reaction to the sedative drugs used for moderate sedation can be impacted by current medications, age, weight, and many other factors. For individuals with dental anxiety or in need of invasive dental procedures moderate sedation is a great option to consider. This service will now be provided at our practice.

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