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Intravenous Sedation Dentistry

IV, short for intravenous, sedation dentistry is the most common way to ease the dental anxiety of the patient by facilitating calm, relaxation and pain relief, especially during widely known painful oral surgeries like wisdom tooth extraction, gum surgery, and other invasive treatments (described as a procedure that requires incision of a skin or tissue) that tend to be tedious and lengthy.

This procedure is done by injecting a needle into a vein, and letting the sedative, and some analgesics into the bloodstream. The effect to the patient is instant. The good thing about IV sedation is that the doctor can regulate the level, duration, and the amount of the dilution of the sedative drug that would enter into the vein of the patient. However, constant monitoring of vital signs must also be done in order to keep the patient safe and conscious, such as the pulse rate, blood pressure, and number of breaths per minute.

This procedure is considered the fastest in terms of incorporating sedation to a patient since the drug quickly circulates around the body. However, some patients who are scared of needles might find this procedure more stressful than the actual invasive treatment itself because he or she may be needle-phobic, especially since this is done while he or she is conscious. If that is the case, other sedation methods can be used.

Also, this method should only be administered by dentists who are certified oral surgeons because the process of finding a vein alone and actually inserting a needle is a dangerous procedure altogether. It requires additional technical skills and training to be able to be qualified to do an IV procedure.

And because of the additional workload needed to administer the IV solution, and to monitor the vital signs of the patient, not to mention the equipment needed aside from the manpower, IV sedation is comparatively the most costly among conscious sedation procedures (i.e., inhalation and oral sedation). Still, it is the most recommended for procedures that require a lot of time in the surgery room.

Before the IV procedure is to take place, the patient must comply to some preoperative steps that the dentist would give to ensure his or her safety. He or she must also sign a consent form once the dentist informs her about the risks involved during the surgery.

After the procedure using the IV sedation, some patients may experience a few, if none at all, side effects. Still, it is recommended that someone should bring him or her home since it is not certain how the patient reacts to the drugs administered. Plus, the drug usually wears off within 24 hours or more depending on the amount that was put in his or her bloodstream. The patient must be monitored during this whole time in order to ensure safety.