Many patients experience some fear or trepidation when it is time for a visit to their dentist. This is unfortunate, as in some cases, it may prevent you from seeking care when you have a noticeable dental issue that needs attention. Your dentist is a professional who is only interested in providing you with the best care possible, while keeping you comfortable throughout any dental procedures you may have to endure. Today many dentists, including Dr. Mabry, have begun offering IV sedation to their patients as a way of helping them overcome their fear.
What is IV sedation?
IV is short for intravenous. In IV sedation dentistry, medication is administered through your veins to keep you calm and comfortable for the entirety of your visit. In most cases, this medication will put you completely to sleep. It takes effect very rapidly, making it a preferred option for many patients.
How does IV sedation work?
A small, hollow needle will be placed into one of your veins (usually either at the top of your hand, or your inner elbow). Attached to this needle will be a tube through which the medication will be delivered directly into your veins. This allows the medication to work far more quickly than other methods of pain relief.
What if I’m afraid of needles?
The needle used for sedation dentistry is very small, and in most cases all you feel as the IV is being inserted is a small prick. However, if you are still fearful, it is possible that Dr. Mabry may be able to give you an oral sedative that will calm you before having the IV inserted. Additionally, a topical anesthetic can be placed on the skin to numb the area before the needle is inserted.
What are the benefits of IV sedation dentistry?
As with other forms of sedation dentistry, IV sedation will relax you and keep you completely comfortable throughout your procedure. You will not feel any anxiety or pain once the anesthetic has been administered. Unlike the medication you receive when going in for surgery, the anesthetic used in IV sedation dentistry will not put you to sleep. You will be completely relaxed, but still able to respond to anything Dr. Mabry needs you to do.
In most cases, you will be so completely comfortable and relaxed following IV sedation that Dr. Mabry will be able to complete more dental work in less time. This method of sedation is excellent for patients who find it difficult to sit in the dental chair for long periods of time, or for those patients who have a strong gag reflex. In most cases, patients remember almost nothing of their appointment by the following day.
One of the most convincing benefits of IV sedation dentistry however, is the control it gives Dr. Mabry. He will be able to immediately increase or decrease the amount of medication you are receiving as needed. This ensures that you will remain as comfortable as possible throughout your visit.
The IV sedation dentistry consultation appointment
Your initial appointment will be like any other dental consultation. Dr. Mabry will complete an oral exam and take a full health history. He will measure your oxygen level, heart rate, and blood pressure. In some cases, you may also receive dental x-rays during this appointment. You will need to make sure that you disclose any health issues you may have, as well as provide a list of the medications and supplements that you are taking to ensure your own safety.
Once your treatment plan has been discussed an agreed upon, Dr. Mabry will ask you to fill out paperwork acknowledging your consent for treatment and sedation. He will also take this time to answer any questions about the procedures that you may have, and give you a list of pre-appointment instructions and/or medications that you may need. In some cases, he may also choose to contact your primary care physician or any medical specialists who provide you care to ensure you receive the best and safest treatment possible.
Your IV sedation dentistry appointment
Prior to your IV sedation appointment, you will be asked to refrain from eating or drinking for a period of six to eight hours. As with any other form of sedation, you will need to arrange for someone to drive you home following your appointment. Once you arrive at our office, a dental assistant will be with you at all times; you will not be left alone. To ensure that you can remain as relaxed as possible during your appointment, it is best if you wear loose, comfortable clothing and shoes that are easy to slip on and off. Once you’re lying in the dental chair, you will be given blankets to wrap around yourself for warmth.
During your appointment, Dr. Mabry will closely track your blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen level, and pulse. When appropriate, other monitoring equipment may also be used. You will be positioned carefully to ensure that you remain comfortable and that your airway stays open. Once the medication is administered, you will almost immediately begin to feel very relaxed and at ease. Your awareness of the sights, smells, and sounds in the office will decrease. You will feel warm and safe, relaxed in your blankets.
How long will it take to recover from the IV sedation?
The recovery period following sedation will vary from patient to patient. Most patients report an increase in their alertness very soon after the IV medication is stopped. However, it is important that you do not drive or operate heavy machinery for at least 24 hours following the end of your appointment. If you experience nausea after treatment, Dr. Mabry can provide you with a prescription to alleviate this symptom.
Following your appointment, you will be encouraged to go home, sleep, and drink plenty of water and clear liquids for the remainder of the day. You will be provided with individualized care and recovery instructions based on the dental treatments you have received. Most sedation patients report that they experience far less pain after treatment than other patients.
Will my dental insurance cover IV sedation?
Your costs will vary based on your individual dental plan and provider. However, most dental insurance plans do cover at least part of the cost of IV sedation; some plans completely cover this expense. You will need to check with your insurance provider to confirm your plan’s benefits, and Dr. Mabry can discuss your costs with you at your consultation based on this information.