IV sedation dentistry is considered as a safe and efficient method of relaxation for dental patients. As with any other medical procedure certain pre-requisites must be fulfilled to ensure the safety of the IV sedation procedure. Choosing a well trained, experienced and properly licensed IV sedation dentist is the main step for IV sedation safety.
The most important factors for safe dental treatments under IV sedation include:
Sedation dentist training and experience. – The IV sedation dentist must have the special training and experience required before using intravenous drug administration.
Expert knowledge of the physical and pharmacokinetic properties of sedative drugs and their effects on human body's physiology is a critical factor for ensuring IV sedation safety.
Therefore, special accreditation and licensing from local dental bodies is required before any dentist can start practicing IV sedation dentistry.
Patient selection – Proper selection of patients who are suitable for IV sedation is also important in order to avoid any adverse effects. The dentist must be aware of the contra-indications of each sedation method and recommend the most suitable for each patient’s needs. Patients with increased risks may be best treated in a hospital environment.
Patient monitoring – Continuous monitoring of the patient throughout the IV sedation procedure is a crucial factor for safety. Not only the dentist, but also another person must monitor the patient and the indications of the monitoring equipment. Use of a pulse oximeter is mandatory as a safety precaution during intravenous sedation.
CPR – The dentist and at least another staff member present during the procedure must be trained in performing CPR in case of an emergency. The IV sedation dentist must also have official training in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS).
The strict regulations on its use, and the advanced training and licensing requirements for the dentists have helped IV sedation dentistry to have an excellent safety record.
Most of the dental patients can take advantage of the benefits of IV sedation dentistry. However, some contraindications for the usage of IV sedation do exist, and the dentist must be aware of these conditions in order to minimize the risks for the patient.
Patients that may not be suitable for IV sedation dentistry generally belong to the following patient groups or have medical conditions as described below:
Other non medical contraindications for having IV sedation dentistry include:
Some patients may be hesitant on having IV sedation, considering it as a more dangerous method mainly because they relate it to general anesthesia. If the patient remains concerned even after the dentist provides the necessary clarifications, it is better to suggest another method such as oral sedation or nitrous oxide.