dentist working on sedated women at dental clinic

IV Sedation

Feel completely at ease and free from anxiety during your dental procedure.

What is IV (intravenous) sedation?

IV sedation can help you overcome your fear of the dentist by making you feel fully relaxed during your appointment. For this procedure, your dentist inserts a small needle into your arm and administers anxiety medication through an IV (intravenous) line. Depending on your level of anxiety, the amount of IV sedation can range from mild to moderate.

Please note that Lewis Estates Dental Centre does not provide IV sedation for children. We will refer you to a pediatric specialist for this procedure.

IV drip at dentist office

How IV sedation dentistry works:

  1. Your dentist will take an X-ray in advance of the IV sedation appointment
  2. At this time, we will determine your dental service needs, explain hygiene requirements, and review the appointment procedure
  3. At your appointment, you may receive freezing with a numbing agent if you have a fear of needles
  4. Once the IV is in, you will feel drowsy and calm in a matter of minutes
  5. While administering your IV sedation, your dentist will complete routine and individualized patient care as normal
  6. Once the procedure is done, your dentist will explain any after-care that is required, including the need for a loved one to drive you home
  7. The costs associated with IV sedation are dependent upon the length of treatment

Benefits of IV sedation dentistry:

  • Patients with high anxiety can obtain dental care in a safe and relaxed manner
  • You will have very little awareness or memory of the dental procedure
  • The sedatives absorb into your bloodstream quickly
  • You can breathe and move on your own
  • Your gag reflex is not affected during the procedure
  • Your dentist can regulate the amount of sedatives in real time
  • Your dentist can complete multiple procedures in one visit

IV sedation dentistry side effects & risks

Common IV sedation side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Memory loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Bruising

If you have any serious side effects, such as fainting, difficulty breathing, vomiting, or a fast/irregular heartbeat, please call your dentist immediately. However, these severe side effects are rare, and most patients find that the benefits of IV sedation outweigh the risks.

IV sedation dentistry FAQs

IV sedation needs to be performed when you have an empty stomach. You should avoid eating food at least six hours before your dental procedure. However, you can drink clear liquids up to two hours before.

Once the sedative starts working, you will feel extremely calm. You will enter a dream-like state and become mostly unaware of your surroundings. Time will seem to pass quickly, and you will likely have very few memories of the dental procedure.

With IV sedation, you will be in a “semi-awake” state. You will feel completely relaxed and free from any pain. You may be so drowsy that you do fall asleep, but you will still be able to wake and respond to requests from our dental care team. This is compared to general anesthesia, which puts you in a fully unconscious state.

You will likely experience amnesia and have few memories of the dental procedure. You may feel drowsy and dizzy, but this will wear off over time. It’s important to rest after IV sedation. For this reason, we recommend taking a break from work and avoiding driving, operating heavy machinery, making important decisions, drinking alcohol, or taking medication (unless cleared by your dentist) for at least 24 hours. Make sure you have a ride home from a trusted caregiver after the procedure.

You will begin to feel the effects of IV sedation within a few minutes of administration. Once the procedure is done, your drowsiness will start to wear off in approximately 20 minutes. The sedatives should fully leave your system in about 24 hours.

women in dream like state after being sedated at dental clinic

Teeth tidbit

IV sedation creates a dream-like state

While you will not be fully asleep, you will feel extremely relaxed and calm. This is often referred to as a “twilight” state of consciousness. You will still be able to move and breathe on your own, but you likely will not remember much about the dental procedure.