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IV Moderate Sedation

IV Moderate Sedation

What Is It?

Moderate sedation is an altered state of consciousness, where you become disassociated with your surroundings.  Memory, anxiety levels, and perception of pain are greatly reduced, and you should become very relaxed and comfortable.  Most people having moderate sedation “think” they have been asleep because they cannot remember anything that went on from the time the sedation was started to the time they left the office.

How Is It Different From General Anesthesia?

Being “completely out” is called general anesthesia.  It differs from IV moderate sedation in many ways.  First of all , with general anesthesia you are unconscious and your reflexes are diminished considerably, to the point where you must be aided in breathing through a tube placed down your windpipe.  Secondly, the drugs used are very potent and may have undesirable side effects during and after the procedure.  Complications tend to increase the longer you are asleep, and you may wind up very nauseous afterwards.  This adds up to more risk, expense, and considerably more specialized personnel to monitor you during and after the procedure, with additional time to recover after the anesthesia wears off.

Who Is It For?

Any reasonably healthy person can have moderate sedation with ANY dental procedure, whether it is having your teeth cleaned or surgery. 

How Will I Feel?

Essentially you are awake, but you will remember very little and generally feel no discomfort.  For example, most people do not recall or feel any part of the procedure, including numbing the teeth.  When your appointment is over, the effects of the sedatives may last for several hours and you may be groggy most of the day of your appointment.

How Is It Done?

The sedatives are usually administered intravenously.  This way your dentist can be sure you receive the right amount of sedation.  Sometimes, oral pre-medication is given to help relax you before your appointment.  Because you may feel groggy and disoriented, you will need to have someone available to take you home from the office on the day of your appointment.  We cannot sedate patients if they do not have a responsible adult available to accompany them after their appointment.

Is It Safe?

Yes, but it is very important that you let us know about any and all medications and/or drugs you are taking (including alcohol, amphetamines, heroin, cocaine, opium, demoral, percodan, hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxycontin, percocet, pain relief patches) and any medical problems that you may have had so that the sedation procedure can be altered to reflect your special needs. There can be serious side effects if we are not informed of all your medications/drugs and medical conditions. For some, a consultation with your physician will be helpful in preventing unanticipated problems. Failure to inform us of these issues will put you at risk and may result in an emergency situation.

Our doctors are trained to administer moderate sedation while treating patients.  In fact, in conjunction with UCLA School of Dentistry, we teach a nationally recognized course in IV moderate sedation.

Before Intravenous Sedation

  • You may not have anything to eat or drink (including water) for eight (8) hours prior to the appointment.
  • No smoking at least 12 hours before surgery. Ideally, cut down or stop smoking as soon as possible prior to the day of surgery.
  • A responsible adult must accompany the patient to the office, remain in the office during the procedure, drive the patient home, and stay with the patient after the appointment until the effects of the drugs wear off.
  • The patient should not drive a vehicle or operate any machinery for 24 hours following the anesthesia experience.
  • Please wear loose fitting clothing with sleeves which can be rolled up past the elbow, and low-heeled shoes.
  • Contact lenses, jewelry, and dentures must be removed at the time of surgery.
  • Do not wear lipstick, excessive makeup, or nail polish on the day of surgery.
  • If you have an illness such as a cold, sore throat, stomach or bowel upset, please notify the office.
  • If you take routine oral medications, please check with Wendel Family Dental Centre prior to the date of your treatment for special instructions.

Any anesthesia carries some risk. Some of the common risks associated with conscious sedation are:

Allergic reactions (previously unknown) to any of the medications used.

The effects of the anesthetic or sedative medications may cause prolonged drowsiness, light-headedness, headache, visual disturbances, amnesia and nausea. Nausea and vomiting, although not common, are potential side effects. Bed rest, and sometimes medications, may be required for relief.

You MUST be accompanied by a responsible adult to drive you to and from surgery, and stay with you for several hours until you have recovered sufficiently to care for yourself. During your drive home, your seat in the car should be in the reclined position. When you arrive home, lie down with your head elevated. During recovery time (normally 24 hours), you should not drive, operate complicated machinery or devices or make important decisions, including watching children and cooking. ABSOLUTELY NO RECREATIONAL DRUGS OR ALCOHOL 24 hours before or after treatment.

You must have a completely empty stomach. It is vital that you have nothing to eat or drink for eight (8) hours prior to your anesthetic. To do otherwise may be life-threatening! Take regular medications or prescriptions prescribed by your physician, unless told to do otherwise. You may have clear fluids (water, tea, Gatorade, plain jello, and apple juice) up to two hours before your appointment.

Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) may be used in conjunction with the sedation.

You must report any and all personal illness or allergies (including diabetes) – no matter how insignificant they may seem.

There may be some discomfort, swelling or bruising at the site where the drugs are placed into a vein, which may include vein irritation, called phlebitis. Sometimes this may progress to a level of discomfort where arm or hand motion may be restricted. Further medication or care may be required, which may require hospitalization.

IV sedation is a medical procedure that in very rare instances carries with it the risk of brain damage, stroke, heart attack or death.