IV Sedation

Most Comfortable Option for Anxious Patients

One effective form of sedation that is used to facilitate dental procedures is intravenous (IV) sedation. This method provides the highest level of calming effect.

For this moderate method, a cocktail of medications are administered to the patient through a catheter or tiny needle placed in a vein within the inner elbow or back of the hand. The dentist can continually control the level of sedation throughout the process by utilizing an advanced monitor with sensors that are capable of detecting heart rhythm, breathing, temperature, blood pressure and other vital signs. This method is known as conscious sedation because the patient is not asleep nor unconscious, but in a semi-conscious or semi-awake state of reduced anxiety that allows them to relax and undergo necessary treatment.

In this way, IV sedation is distinct from general anesthesia, also called unconscious sedation, during which the patient is put into a sleep that won’t be disturbed by painful stimulation or discomfort. During general anesthesia (which is a service that is also provided at Cloud Dental) the patient is fully asleep and will not have any memory of the procedure. This method of sedation is provided by our physician anesthesiologist (MD) and by means of using an anesthesia machine that is capable of providing continuous supply of oxygen and detecting various vital signs.

By offering this experience in a safe environment, more patients who are prone to anxiety or fear, or who possess a dental phobia, can receive the important procedures they need with relative comfort.

Popular IV sedation medications

In the dental industry, the most popular class of drugs used for IV sedation are benzodiazepines, which include diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan) and midazolam (Versed). Today, midazolam is most often used for dental procedures. Compared to other older drugs, it wears off faster, acts quicker and irritates the veins less.

In conjunction with the sedative medication, dentists frequently will include pain-reducers or opioid analgesics to control pain during and after invasive procedures. These also reduce the need for larger doses of sedative drugs.

Ketamine is another very effective medication that is used in conjunction with anxiolytics and opiod analgesics to reduce pain and anxiety. It provides a euphoric yet elevated level of happiness that is highly liked by our patients. Dr. Samani’s extensive research in putting together the perfect ‘sedation cocktail’ has produced many happy and satisfied patients and resulted in many patients referrals of friends and family.

Who is a candidate for IV sedation?

Although sedation is targeted toward individuals who experience a keen sense of fear or trepidation when it comes to dental work, it also is suitable for those with sensitive teeth, a low pain threshold, antsiness or a sensitive gag reflex.

To offer IV sedation, dentists must be certified by the American Dental Association, complete the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) program and pass a comprehensive exam administered by their respective state’s dental board. Professionals also must regularly acquire additional hours of emergency training and continuing education to maintain their permit. For this reason, only a small percentage of dental offices offer this form of sedation.

Dr. Samani is one of few dentists in the Austin area who is trained and qualified to provide IV sedation in-house. To learn more about the benefits of IV sedation for use during dental procedures, call (512-351-4080)