How Does IV Sedation Work?

In the 2016 Guidelines for the Use of Sedation and General Anesthesia by Dentists, the American Dental Association went on record as saying, “The administration of local anesthesia, sedation and general anesthesia is an integral part of dental practice.”

IV sedation, or conscious sedation is “moderate sedation,” defined in the Guidelines as, “A drug-induced depression of consciousness during which patients respond purposefully to verbal commands, either alone of accompanied by light tactile stimulation. No interventions are required to maintain a patient airway, and spontaneous ventilation is adequate.” In other words, the patient is awake and breathing on ones own.

Before having IV sedation, be sure that the dentist:

Is board-certified to administer IV sedation
Is ACLS-certified (Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support)
Only administers IV sedation to patients above the age of 18
How does it work?

A sedative is administered through a tiny catheter placed into a vein in the hand or arm. This stays in place throughout treatment. IV sedation sometimes slows breathing, so a small light probe on the tip of your finger or ear lobe will allow the dental team to continuously monitor heart rate and oxygen levels.

Safety is paramount. The Guidelines state, “The American Dental Association is committed to the safe and effective use of these modalities by appropriately educated and trained dentists.”


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