Fear of the dental experience has been demonstrated to be one of the most significant barriers to the delivery of quality dental care. When the stress of the dental treatment situation is combined with dental fears, some patients find themselves unable to successfully have dental treatment done. In our practice, the most common type of anesthesia used is local anesthesia (numbing). In most cases, this is the only drug agent necessary. Most patients tolerate the local anesthesia well, and they recognize this feeling of having their lip numb for a dental procedure.
As noted above, there are many people who require a different approach for various reasons. For the patient who fears the required treatment, intravenous (I.V.) sedation offers a way to have required dental treatment done in a non-threatening manner. Other patients who benefit are those who need surgical procedures or extensive treatment to be completed in fewer appointments.
Intravenous sedation is the calming of a nervous, apprehensive individual through the use of drugs, without inducing the loss of consciousness. This highly effective technique requires the introduction of drugs directly into the vein, and it has the advantage of giving maximum control (titration) to the treating doctor as well as giving comfort to the patient.
The patient is not placed under general anesthesia, for the patient’s protective reflexes are still in place, including the ability for the patient to maintain their own airway. Appropriate monitoring equipment is used during the I.V. sedation appointment. A pulse oximeter, an EKG monitor, and supplemental oxygen will be used during the appointment. The use of intravenous sedation has been a very effective tool in our practice for outpatient dental care for over twenty four years.