What to Know About IV Sedation

Posted on: December 16, 2017

IV SedationIf you are one of the many people who have dental anxiety, then IV sedation could be a great way to help you relax at your next dental visit. With IV sedation, medications are used to help patients stay relaxed throughout dental procedures. IV sedation can also help to prevent pain and to reduce the ability to remember the procedure when it is completed.

Most importantly, IV sedation gives your dentist optimal control of the amount of medication and allows them to readily increase or decrease your level of sedation as necessary.

More about IV sedation

IV stands for intravenous. Medication that we administer intravenously through the veins. Because of the rapid effects, many patients prefer this option. IV sedation medication works through a very small needle that we place in either the top of the hand or within the inner elbow.

IV sedation includes the faster onset of the sedation medications, meaning one will be able to feel the effects of the medication quickly. Just like other forms of sedation dentistry, IV sedation is designed to relax the patient and make the patient completely comfortable. IV sedation also helps eliminate anxiety and pain.

Although the patient may lie back in the dental chair and close his or her eyes, the patient will not be asleep during the appointment. The patient will still be able to respond to verbal cues from the dentist. Since the patient is completely relaxed, the dentist can accomplish more high-quality dentistry in less time.

Benefits you need to know about

IV sedation can benefit patients who have a sensitive gag reflex or difficulty sitting in a dental chair for long periods of time. The patient will be so relaxed that he or she will be unaware of the sights, smells and sounds of the dental office. Patients remember little to nothing of their appointment by the next day.

There is no set amount of recovery time because every patient is different. However, many patients begin to feel more alert soon after the IV medication stops. The patient should not drive or operate heavy machinery for at least 24 hours after the end of the appointment.


If the patient experiences any nausea after treatment, then the dentist can usually provide a prescription to help. We encourage patients to sleep and drink plenty of water and clear fluids for the remainder of the day. In regards to recovery from the actual dental work itself, we will give individualized instructions for aftercare.

Many sedation patients report significantly reduced pain levels the day after their treatment. There are multiple theories for why this is. One common theory is that because a sedation patient is relaxed and not tense during their appointment, the dentist can often use less force as well as access the mouth more easily.

So when exactly is IV sedation needed?

IV sedation is often recommended by dentists for oral surgery procedures to make it easier to relax during stressful, long treatments, such as implant placements, wisdom tooth extractions, and other types of invasive dental treatments. If you have any questions or concerns regarding IV sedation, don’t hesitate to talk to your dentist.

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