What Can You Expect from IV Sedation?

Dentists usually recommend IV sedation – anti-anxiety medication delivered intravenously via a small needle – for patients undergoing dental implant placement, wisdom tooth removal, or other oral surgery procedures. However, IV sedation also helps patients with profound dental fear and anxiety, a very sensitive gag reflex, or physical/neurological impairment relax during all types of dental treatment. If your dentist has recommended IV sedation, our handy guide will help you know what to expect from your procedure.

Before the Procedure

Your dentist will have specific pre-operative instructions tailored to your procedure and your unique needs. In general, though, you can expect to follow these steps prior to your appointment:

  • Fast for at least six hours before the appointment. This means no food although, in some cases, you can drink water or other clear beverages up to two hours before the appointment. If you have a morning appointment, eat a snack just before bedtime. If your appointment is in the afternoon, wake up an hour earlier than you normally do and eat a large breakfast.
  • Wear loose clothing. This serves two purposes. First, your dentist will need easy access to your arm to administer the IV and also monitor your vital signs. Second, tight waistbands and restrictive clothes can make you feel uncomfortable and restless during the procedure.
  • Empty your bladder. Having a full bladder can make you uncomfortable and can actually raise your blood pressure during the procedure.

During the Procedure

Either your IV sedation certified dentist or a trusted anesthesiologist will administer the IV via a small needle. If you suffer from belonephobia (fear of needles), your dentist may use a topical analgesic to numb the area or administer nitrous oxide to help you relax further. Once the sedative takes effect, you will feel completely relaxed and unconcerned but still able to breathe on your own and answer questions.

After the Procedure and Beyond

The effects of IV sedation will linger for up to 12 hours after your appointment, so don’t make any big plans for the evening. A trusted friend or family member will need to drive you home from your appointment. Once you arrive home, take the time to relax. Many patients doze off for a few hours and then wake up ready to eat a small meal. A few items to have on hand after your appointment include:

  • Any prescribed pain medication or dentist-recommended OTC pain relief medication.
  • A new magazine, book, or DVD.
  • Soft, mild foods that you enjoy. Ice cream, yogurt, broth based soups, and frozen fruit for making smoothies are popular choices.

About Shawn Hofkes, DDS

With advanced training in oral and maxillofacial surgery and certification in oral and IV sedation, Shawn Hofkes, DDS is qualified to provide comfortable, advanced dental care from our state-of-the-art dentist office in Cerritos, CA. To schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.