1. What does it feel like? Will I be asleep?
Conscious Sedation allows you to be sedated just enough to be pain free and
unaware of the treatment. You will be relaxed the entire time. You will still be
able to breathe on your own, and you will be able to understand and respond to requests from Dr. Dunlap. However, you will probably not remember much about the appointment. This is due to the medications that were used and because you were relaxed during the procedure.
2. Is it still necessary to be numbed with local anesthetic?
The sedative medications cause relaxation and lowered anxiety, but do not block
nerve impulses. Therefore, you will still need to be numb for the dental procedure. However, you will not be numbed until the IV sedation has taken effect. As always, the procedure will not begin until you are numb.
3. How is IV sedation administered?
“IV” or “Intravenous” means that the drug is put into a vein. An extremely thin
needle is put into a vein close to the surface of the skin in either the arm or back
of the hand. The medications are then administered through the IV “line”, that
is also giving you fluids to keep you hydrated.
4. Is it safe?
IV sedation is extremely safe when carried out under the supervision of a
specially trained dentist. Throughout the procedure, your pulse and oxygen
levels are monitored using a pulse oximeter. Your blood pressure will be
monitored before, during, and after the procedure. Statistically speaking, it’s
actually safer than local anesthetic on its own.
5. Are there any contraindications to IV sedation?
Before taking any medication, your current health needs to be evaluated.
Certain health conditions (such as pregnancy, drug allergies, heart/lung problems)
can contraindicate using IV sedation. This is why a complete medical history and
a brief physical exam is needed by Dr. Dunlap. This will take place at the consultation appointment.
6. What are the advantages of IV sedation?
IV sedation is the method of choice if you don’t want to be aware of the
procedure. The onset is very rapid; and the dosage and level of sedation can be
tailored to meet the needs of each individual patient. Also, the level of sedation
reached is deeper than with nitrous or oral sedation. The IV sedation medications
produce amnesia for the procedure, which is ideal for those with severe dental
7. Are there any disadvantages?
A needle has to be put in the arm or hand (“venipuncture”). If you have a general
phobia of needles, this isn’t much fun. It is possible to experience complications
at the site where the needle entered, for example: a hematoma (bruise) or irritation at the venipuncture site. Recovery from IV administered drugs is NOT complete at the end of the dental procedure. The patient needs to be escorted by a responsible adult. The patient may not drive for the next 24 hours after the procedure.
8. Is IV sedation covered by dental insurance?
IV (intravenous) sedation is usually not covered by dental insurance for
common procedures. Our staff can research dental benefits for an estimate, but we are never given a guarantee by the insurance company. If you are concerned about the coverage, we recommend contacting your dental insurance company directly.