What is intravenous sedation?
Intravenous sedation involves placing a plastic tube in a vein in your arm or hand through which the sedative drug will be administered. The sedative will relax you and make you feel sleepy and comfortable throughout your treatment.Once you are sedated, you will be given a local anaesthetic which will numb your mouth. Whilst this is not a general anaesthetic that puts you to sleep, most people will not remember anything about their treatment.
What are the benefits of intravenous sedation?
Intravenous sedation will reduce your anxiety and help you cope with dental treatment. Sedation is indicated for patients with dental phobia and anxiety, strong gag reflex or have had difficulty in feeling numb when treatment was carried out using local anaesthesia alone. Even people who do not feel anxious about dental treatment can choose to have sedation for uncomfortable procedures such as extractions, placement of implants or root canal treatment.What are the risks?Intravenous sedation is a safe and effective technique. The dose of the sedative is tailored to your needs and is given slowly until you feel comfortable to have your treatment. However, intravenous sedation can slow your breathing. We overcome this by continuously monitoring you closely during the whole procedure. Another possible complication is bruising to your hand or arm where the cannula is placed. This should disappear within a few days.
What are the alternatives?
The alternatives are local anaesthesia without sedation or general anaesthesia.
- Treatment under local anaesthesia will involve an injection into the gum to numb the area being worked on but you will be awake during your treatment.
- Treatment under general anaesthesia will involve being unconscious so you do not feel anything during the procedure. This means your breathing is assisted by a machine and therefore can only be carried out in a hospital setting. It is riskier and therefore is reserved for people who are unable to cope with treatment under sedation.
How can I prepare for my appointment?
- You must have a responsible adult to accompany you for the treatment, take you home after your treatment (preferably by car) and stay with you for 24 hours.
- You can have a light meal before your appointment.
- Take all your medications as normal with a small amount of water.
- Anaesthetic cream can be applied to the back of both hands and arms 1 hour before the treatment and covered in cling film. This will provide a painless placement of the plastic tube. The cream can be obtained from your local pharmacy.
- Please inform the clinic if you know or suspect you may be pregnant.
What happens during sedation?
You will be asked to have a seat on the dental chair and your blood pressure will be taken. Once the treatment planned is confirmed, a small plastic tube is placed in your arm or hand and the sedative is administered. The dental team will monitor your breathing during the procedure. We will also use local anaesthesia to numb the area where you will be having treatment so that you do not feel any discomfort. At the end of your treatment, we will walk you to the recovery area where your escort will be waiting. We will then give all the post-operative instructions to your escort. Once you are fully recovered, the plastic tube is then removed and you will be discharged to the care of your escort.
What do I need to do after having sedation?
- For your safety, it is important that you follow the advice given below. Although you might feel fine, your reasoning, reflexes, judgement, coordination and skill can be affected by the sedation for the following 24 hours.
- Please rest at home until the following day.
- Do not drive any vehicle or ride a bicycle.
- Do not operate any machinery, including domestic appliances.
- Do not attempt to cook, use sharp utensils or pour hot or boiling liquids.
- Do not drink alcohol.
- Do not take sleeping tablets.
- Do not make important decisions or sign any contracts.
- Do not look after young children or other dependants.