I am super nervous at dental appointments. I know I need help to bring me down a few notches. Still, I am a little afraid to be unconscious at the dentist. Something just doesn’t sound right about that. My sister told me that IV sedation is not general anesthesia, but I could fall asleep. Why do I need an IV for sedation anyway? I saw a dentist two days ago who says he uses nitrous oxide and IV sedation. He recommended IV because my anxiety level is moderate to high. But what if I don’t want an IV? The thought of an IV is making me more nervous than the dental appointment. Thanks. Tyra from VA
Your sister is correct. General anesthesia makes patients unconscious, but IV sedation does not. When you receive IV sedation, a commonly-prescribed sedative is administered through your veins. Many patients fall asleep during treatment. Others are simply deeply relaxed.
Is Dental Sedation Through an IV Your Only Option?
IV sedation is one type of relaxation that dentists offer, but it is not your only choice. Although IV sedation works faster, many dentists provide oral medication to help you relax.
Someone would need to drive you to and from the dental office. You would take an anti-anxiety medication, such as Valium or Halcion, about an hour before your appointment. But during the dental procedure, your vital signs are monitored. So, the dental team will give you proper attention.
You can consider having a consultation with a dentist who offers oral sedation. It will allow you to ask questions, learn more about the procedure, and discuss your concerns with the dentist. The more information you have, the more comfortable and confident you will be during your dental procedure.
David Finley, DDS of Monroe, LA, sponsors this post. Dr. Finley is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry.