IV sedation dentistry is an effective method for providing anxiety relief, relaxation and comfort to dental patients. IV sedation does not only offer significant benefits to the patients, but it also demonstrates several advantages over the other available sedation methods.
IV Sedation may not be the most popular method of dental sedation, but it actually offers significant advantages over nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation. It can also cover a wider range of patient needs with greater effectiveness, flexibility, and safety. The following are the main advantages of dental IV sedation:
Higher level of sedation. The maximum level of sedation which can be achieved with IV administration is deeper than with oral or inhalation (nitrous oxide) sedation. Although some of the drugs are the same with those used in oral sedation, they are much more effective when given intravenously than when taken orally.
Suitable for patients with moderate to severe anxiety. Because of the increased sedation levels that can be achieved with intravenously administered sedatives, even patients with severe anxieties and dental phobias can be successfully treated with intravenous sedation.
Speed of onset of sedation. The intravenous administration of sedative drugs allows them to reach the brain and start taking effect within a few seconds, much faster than with oral sedation. When oral sedatives may take over an hour to act, the fast onset of sedation gives a significant advantage to IV sedation. Nitrous oxide has also a fast onset but it can not provide high sedation levels.
Adjustable dosage and sedation level. The dose of sedative can be titrated by administering small incremental doses until the patient reaches the desired sedation level that provides adequate comfort and relaxation. If the patient is not sedated enough during the treatment, the dentist can administer more medication. The ability to easily and quickly adjust the level of sedation is considered as the main advantage of IV sedation dentistry over oral sedation where the effects on each patient are not accurately predictable.
Recovery. Recovery time after IV sedation is generally shorter than that required after oral sedation, mainly due to the more controlled dosage of sedatives administered to the patient.
Amnesia. The most popular medicines used in IV sedation belong to the family of benzodiazepines having amnesia as a side effect. Due to this amnesic effect, the patient will usually have little or no memory of any unpleasant dental procedures. Amnesia can be especially useful for patients with dental anxiety who have to undergo long and invasive dental treatments.
Gag reflex is diminished. IV sedation can suppress the gag reflex in over-sensitive patients, in the same way as oral sedation and nitrous oxide.
Consciousness is maintained – Alternative to General Anesthesia. IV conscious sedation provides an effective alternative to General Anesthesia for patients who wish to have high level of sedation but they want to avoid GA either because they are not medically fit for full anesthesia or they want to avoid the higher cost, and the risk of complications associated with GA. The fact that the patient remains conscious throughout the procedure makes IV conscious sedation a much safer alternative to General Anesthesia, especially for medically compromised patients and children, and would be the treatment of choice unless GA is absolutely necessary.
Faster treatment in less appointments. Same as with other sedation techniques, dental treatments under IV sedation can be performed much faster and in less appointments. During IV sedation procedures another staff member monitors the patient’s vital signs, while the sedation dentist is free to focus on the dental treatments without distractions and without worrying about the patient feeling discomfort. Time saving is an important benefit of IV sedation for busy patients with a strict schedule.