General and intravenous (IV) dental sedation explained

dental sedation

In this article we explain the different types of dental sedation, how they work, and why there’s nothing to be worried about.

What is dental sedation?

Dental sedation can be summed up in one word; comfort.

A visit to the dentist can be stressful, and depending on the work being carried out, sometimes uncomfortable.

Dental sedation can help calm your nerves and discomfort. The level and type of sedation depend on you and the treatment you’re undergoing.

Usually, a localised anaesthetic is enough for most dental work, with more complex procedures possibly requiring heavier sedation. In extreme cases, some people can’t relax at all when it comes to the dentist, so need to be sedated for something as small as a filling.

The process is almost 100% safe, but of course with any medical procedure, there are always risk factors. People with heart or respiratory conditions have a higher risk factor than others, but complications from dental sedation are extremely rare.

boy sedated at dentist

The main types of dental sedation

There are different options available for sedation depending on the type of dental procedure you will undertake, and how you feel about the dentist.

Twilight Sedation

This is also known as IV Sedation and is used for the most basic (cleans) to the more complex treatments such as root canals or tooth extraction.

Drugs are administered to the patient via the bloodstream, and this results in a semi-conscious “twilight” sleep.

The patient is still semi-conscious, breathing on their own and can respond to simple commands such as “open wider”, but is too relaxed to care much about what’s happening. In most cases, the patients fall asleep and have little recollection after the procedure.

General anaesthetic

A general anaesthetic is used during operations in hospital. The patient is completely paralysed and unable to breath on their own with a ventilation tube in the nose or throat and unable to respond to instructions.

If it is necessary for a general anaesthetic to be used, it will be administered and managed by a highly qualified and experienced Anaesthetist, just as it would occur in a hospital.

dental recovery

After sedation

As with any medical procedure, there is a recovery period.

With twilight sedation, this is usually anywhere between 15 and 45 minutes, depending on the patient. With a general anaesthetic, that time could be anywhere between 1 to 3 hours.

During this recovery period, there is constant monitoring of the patient’s vital signs and the patient may still feel relaxed and ‘sleepy’.

Only when Dr Melissa Licenblat gives the okay is the patient allowed to leave the practice, and only then if they are accompanied by an adult who will escort them home and remain with them the rest of the day/night.

Talk to us about dental sedation

If you have any concerns about being sedated for a dental procedure, come and talk to us beforehand.

Our highly trained Sedationist, Dr Melissa Licenblat, has years of experience in dental sedation and patient safety.

Comfort and satisfaction is our highest priority.

Our total care package takes everything into consideration, from your medical history, concerns and fears, through to how you’re planning on getting home.

Making sure you are comfortable, informed and relaxed is how we approach sedation, so if you’d like to know more about how we can help, simply give us a call on 9233 3301 and speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable staff members.

Or if you would prefer, you can email SDAI by clicking here.