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What is sedation and how is it used in dentistry?

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Intravenous sedation is also known as ‘twilight sleep’ and is a type of anaesthesia that relaxes you by using a sedative medication, usually Propofol or Midazolam. It is administered into a vein in your forearm. Depending on the procedure, the amount of anaesthesia used may range from a minimal amount, just enough to make a patient drowsy, to an amount so deep that the patient may not remember the procedure. You are always able to talk and respond to commands, but you will never remember what has happened during the procedure.

Many people have a fear of dentists and are worried and anxious about having dental treatment. This is most commonly down to a traumatic experience as a child, the fear of pain and injections. Sometimes we hear patients saying they feel worried because they have a strong gagging reflex and cannot tolerate things in their mouth. If this sounds like you, sedation could be the solution, it will keep you calm and relaxed throughout your dental procedure.

Intravenous sedation holds less risk because you breathe on your own, unlike general anaesthesia, where your breathing is controlled by the anaesthetist. The other advantage to being able to breathe on your own, is it makes both surgeon and anaesthetist become aware of your discomfort, before you do, and they can respond by increasing the numbing or the level of sedation.

What procedures can you use intravenous sedation for?

Intravenous sedation can be used for any dental procedure if necessary. We find most patients are very anxious about having injections in the mouth, sedation will keep you calm and relaxed, so that you do not feel bothered about the injection.

Patients having sedation will be booked in for a minimum of one hour, this is a long time for patients to be expected to keep their mouths open, sedation relieves this as you have no perception of time. We would usually recommend sedation for anxious patients that require multiple fillings, extensive periodontal treatment, extractions, and dental implants.

We have one day a month where an anaesthetist comes in to provide sedation, other sessions can be made to suit our patients.

Who administers the intravenous sedation?

Sedation Solutions LLP is committed to the advancement of safe and effective sedation for medical and dental procedures through integrating excellence in patient care, education, research, and training. The group is a CQC registered, leading provider of sedation for the dental and medical community in the United Kingdom.

We have worked with Sedation Solutions, for several years, the anaesthetists are very experienced and combined with their professional and caring approach towards our patients, we intend to use them for many years to come.

What are the side effects after intravenous sedation?

Side effects could depend on the length of your procedure, but below are some of the possibilities, which aside from drowsiness, are all very rare.

Drowsiness – this is the most common side effect, but to be expected as the purpose of anaesthesia is to relax you and can sometimes last 24-48 hours after treatment.

Nausea or vomiting – because of the way the IV sedation medications affect the brain and gastrointestinal systems you may experience some nausea or vomiting. You may be at more risk if you have a history of motion sickness.

Headache – most common cause of headaches after the procedure is because of the sedation medication exiting the body. Also, as you will be asked not to eat or drink after midnight the day before surgery, your blood sugars can be low.

You will need someone to pick you up after the procedure and look after you. We recommend that you do not drive for 24 hours after the procedure. This also includes operating any heavy machinery, making important financial decisions and anything that is deemed dangerous.

Intravenous sedation caution and contraindication
Contraindications would include – pregnancy, allergy to Benzodiazepines, alcohol intoxication, CNS depression and in some cases glaucoma.

Cautions include psychosis, impaired lung, kidney or liver function and advanced age.

What are the advantages of sedation for dental work?

1. You are completely relaxed – it is as if you are sleeping.
2. You will not remember a thing.
3. There is no hangover.
4. It is very safe – you don’t have to go into hospital.
5. It allows us to do complex dental procedures on nervous patients.
6. Side effects are extremely rare.

If you are nervous or worried about getting dental treatment, please contact us to arrange a free consultation where we would be happy to meet you and discuss how we can help you.