During IV sedation dentistry, a sedative drug is administered into the blood system during treatment inducing a deep state of relaxation and a feeling of not being bothered by what's going on.
It is commonly mistaken for sleep dentistry, however the aim is not to induce sleep. Patients remain conscious and responsive to verbal requests, although sleepiness may be a side effect. Patients often report that they feel like that they slept throughout the entire procedure.
Benefits of IV Sedation Dentistry
IV sedation is designed to make you feel completely relaxed and comfortable. It also eliminates your anxiety and pain.
One of the major benefits of IV sedation dentistry is that for most patients, hours pass like minutes, and it allows extensive dentistry that may have normally taken multiple appointments to be done within one appointment, with little or no memory of treatment the following day.
Sedation can make you feel comfortable if you are anxious about dental procedures such as surgical extractions or dental implant surgery.
Since sedation dentistry helps to alleviate some of the fears that keep people from avoiding the dentist, patients are more likely to receive the care they need and avoid neglect and problems building to the point where more drastic and costly procedures become necessary.
IV sedation gives your dental sedation team optimum control of medication administered and allows the level of sedation to be increased or decreased as needed, quickly and comfortably. It has a fast onset which means you will be able to experience the effects of the medication quickly.
How does it work?
IV sedation medication is delivered through a very small needle placed in a vein at the top of your hand or within the inner elbow. It is administered by a specialist anaesthetist who remains throughout the entire procedure and monitors your response with pulse oximetry to ensure the optimal level of sedation for you.
What if I'm afraid of needles?
Fear of needles is not uncommon and some people are not able to tolerate IV sedation for this reason. The majority of people would describe the sensation as a small pinch or prick. The feeling can be minimised by taking an oral sedative prior and/or applying a topical anaesthetic patch in the area where the needle will be placed.
What should I expect at my first appointment?
Your first appointment with the dentist will be for a comprehensive examination. You will be asked to complete a pre-treatment form with a complete health history prior to seeing the dentist. They will spend some time listening and understanding your needs and concerns, and conducting a full evaluation of your dental and oral condition including x-ray films and photographs. Your dentist will inform you of your treatment options and help you understand them so that you can make fully informed choices. Once you have agreed upon a treatment plan, one of our front office co-ordinators will organise a consultation to go through the paperwork to give your consent for treatment, and help you schedule appointments for your treatment, and pre-treatment consultation with our dental anaesthetist.
What should I expect on the day of treatment?
On the day of your IV sedation appointment, you cannot eat or drink for 6 hours prior. We try to accommodate most of our IV sedation patients first thing in the morning for convenience.
A companion is required to take you to and from the appointment. You will never be left alone during your appointment. You are encouraged to wear loose, comfortable clothing to ensure total relaxation. Your dental assistant will bring you blankets to wrap around you to keep you comfortable and warm as necessary.
Throughout the entire appointment, you will be monitored with a pulse oximeter. This device tracks your blood pressure, heart rate and rhythm, oxygen level, and pulse.
Once the IV medication has been administered you will quickly begin to feel relaxed and at ease. You will become unaware of the sights, smells and noises around you and start to feel sleepy.
How long is the recovery time after my appointment?
There is no set amount of recovery time because every patient is different, however many patients begin to feel more alert soon after the IV medication is stopped. You should not drive, operate heavy machinery or sign any important documents for at least 24 hours after the end of your appointment.
Patients are encouraged to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water for the remainder of the day.
Your dentist will discuss with you and your companion more individualised instructions depending on the treatment you received, and help you understand what to expect.
How much does IV sedation cost?
Fees for IV sedation in Perth dental practices range widely. It is important to consider who will be administering your IV sedation medication, and whether they will be present and monitoring you throughout your procedure.
At our practice, the fee for IV sedation ranges from around $750 to $3500 depending on the length of time required. This fee is payable directly to the specialist anaesthetist. This fee includes the monitoring of your blood pressure, heart rate and rhythm, oxygen level and pulse with pulse oximetry throughout your entire procedure.
Our practice uses a Dental Anaesthetist who is endorsed by the Dental Board of Australia in relation to conscious sedation. There are only a handful of such specialists in Perth.