Intravenous sedation

What is intravenous sedation?

This is a technique whereby a sedating drug is injected directly into a patient's vein.  It is designed to help you relax during your treatment.

Sedation is defined as a technique in which the use of a drug or drugs produces a state of depression of the central nervous system enabling treatment to be carried out. 

You will remain conscious and you will be able to understand and respond to verbal commands.  

It is normal with this type of sedation to not remember the treatment that you have received.  

How will I be prepared for the inhalation or intravenous sedation?

You will attend an assessment appointment with a dentist, who will talk you through the procedure.  Together you will decide if it is the right option for you. If you choose to go ahead with the sedation then you will be required to give written consent at this appointment.

For inhalation sedation children will usually, be given the mask to practice with at home.  

What will happen on the day of the inhalation or intravenous sedation?

  • On the day of sedation you will be asked to follow these instructions.
  • You must only have a light meal approximately 2 hours before treatment
  • Do not drink any alcohol for 24 hours before treatment
  • Take any routine medicines at normal times
  • You must inform the dentist of any medicines or tablets you are taking, or if there have been any recent changes to your Medical History
  • Do not bring children with you
  • Please go to the toilet before having sedation

If you have followed these instructions then the dental treatment will be carried out under sedation as previously discussed.  

After sedation you will be asked to follow these instructions:

  • You will NOT be able to drive yourself home. Please bring a responsible adult with you, who is able to wait and escort you home
  • You should use a car or taxi to get home. Not the bus or the train
  • Rest at home for the remainder of the day. Do not go back to work
  • Do not use any machinery or drive until the next day
  • Do not drink alcohol
  • Don not go swimming
  • Do not sigh legal documents or make important decisions until the next day

The after care instructions may vary depending upon the type of sedation you have.  

How do I recover/wake up from sedation?

When your treatment is finished, the dentist stops giving the drug that makes you sedated. Your body naturally destroys the drug and slowly returns to normal.  

For intravenous sedation the first part of recovery takes about one hour, but it can take the rest of the day for all of the sedative to wear off.  

Is sedation safe?

Sedation is a very safe procedure with very few side effects.

All patients have some feeling of tiredness afterwards and even if they feel fine they still have slower reflexes.

Very occasionally people can feel a little sick after sedation.  

If you have had the injection type of sedation, there may be a little bruising at the site of injection.