Insights on Sedation Dentistry
Have you ever been afraid of going to the dentist?
Do you find that you have trouble sleeping the night before an appointment?
Have you ever wished that you could sleep through your dental appointment?
Sedation dentistry is a revolutionary new approach to conquering your preexisting fears and
phobias of dentistry. And, unless you already suspect this because you belong to this group,
as much as a third of the people fear going to the dentist! Now, however, through sedation
dentistry, you can relax through your appointment! Many times, patients don’t even remember
that they have been through a procedure! Sedation dentistry comes in 2 main forms: IV
(intravenous) and inhalation.
Sedation dentistry allows you to be sedated just enough to be pain free and unaware of the
treatment, as if you were relaxing the entire time. This is why it is commonly referred to as
conscious sedation dentistry. So if you have sensitive teeth, a fear of dentists, bad gag reflexes,
hate needles, or have limited time to spend on dental care at the dentist, sedation during
dentistry may be right for you.
Why is Intravenous Sedation right for you? Intravenous sedation is the most powerful form
of sedation available. This method involves using an IV line to administer a very precisely
calculated dose of relaxing agents directly into your body to immediately quiet your mind. It
is our preferred method of sedation and the choice most commonly made by discriminating
patients who do not do well in dental chairs.
With the insertion of a very small needle into a vein on the patient’s arm or back of the hand,
anesthetic agents can be delivered directly into the blood stream. Anti-anxiety sedatives (i.e.
benzodiazepine) are typically used to sedate the patient.
In the event of excessively long, complex procedures, Barbiturates and/or opioids can be
utilized in combination with the other compounds. However, in such events, a highly trained
anesthesiologist is present for the procedure to monitor the patient.
Top 10 reasons why people ask for sedation dentistry
What are the main advantages of IV sedation? The onset of action is very rapid, and drug
dosage and level of sedation can be tailored to meet the individual’s needs. This is a huge
advantage compared to oral sedation, where the effects can be very unreliable. IV sedation, on
the other hand, is both highly effective and reliable.
The maximum level of sedation which can be reached with IV is deeper than with oral or
inhalation sedation. The gag reflex is hugely diminished – people receiving IV sedation rarely
experience difficulty with gagging – if minimizing a severe gag reflex is the main objective.
Unlike General Anesthesia or Deep Sedation, conscious IV sedation doesn’t really introduce
any compromises per se in terms of carrying out the actual procedures, because people are
conscious and they can cooperate with instructions, and there is no airway tube involved.
Anti-anxiety medication is the simplest form of sedation where you take a pill the day before
your dental visit. This pill will allow you to relax a bit before the procedure but you will still need
an injection of local anesthesia to numb your tooth area. Sometimes, getting over a little anxiety
is all it really takes.
Choosing the right Sedation Dentist: Today there are many dentists promoting “sedation
dentistry,” but an exact definition of the term “sedation dentist” does not exist. The local
anesthesia that’s been used for decades (where the doctor injects the patient with a syringe of
Novocain) could be considered “sedation,” but that’s not really the type of sedation that many
people are looking for. Some people would just rather not be fully conscious when they’re in
a dentist’s chair. In fact, a very common desire for a sedation dentist is based on the dental
fears and phobias that many people have toward getting dental treatment, whether for minor
problems or more extensive treatments, like root canal work, full mouth reconstruction, or gum
Keep in mind the following issues to discuss with a sedation dentist:
Is the dentist experienced at sedation? Get the details. Is he or she affiliated with any local
What types of patients does the sedation dentist treat routinely? If you’re not the kind of patient
seen regularly in that practice, you may want to keep looking.
What type(s) of sedation does this dentist offer? Sedation options are definitely not “one-size-
fits-all,” and they’re not interchangeable with each other.
Does this sedation dentist have partnerships with dental specialists such as prosthodontists,
periodontists, and endodontists to make sure that all of your dental needs can be met? Can
he or she have such specialists treat you while you’re under sedation? Could treatments be
combined to reduce the number of appointments necessary?
For your child: Is this dentist considered a pediatric sedation dentist? The same questions as
Can this sedation dentist work with your insurance plan?
Is Sedation Covered by Dental Insurance? It is very uncommon for insurance companies to
cover sedation dentistry, however; in certain select cases, insurance can cover the additional
cost (if, for example, treatment that could alternatively be spread over multiple visits are
conducted during one visit). Intravenous sedation is usually not covered under any of the
Is IV Sedation safe? IV sedation is EXTREMELY safe! Specialized training is required for the
operating dentist, and if certain drugs are used, an anesthesiologist must also be present.
However, despite the required supervision, when carried out correctly and under proper
conditions, IV sedation is even safer than a localized anesthetic on its own!
However, if you are pregnant, have known allergies to benzodiazepine, are intoxicated from
the ingestion of alcohol, suffer from CNS depression, or have some instances of glaucoma, IV
sedation cannot be performed. Additional concerns are considered in instances of psychosis,
impaired function of lung, kidney or liver organs, or advanced age.
What to do after IV Sedation:
Make sure you are escorted home by a responsible party. It is recommended that you stay
home for the remainder of the day.
Stay in the presence of a responsible party until you are fully alert again.
Avoid any tiring or laborious activity (including driving) for the rest of the day.
Do not consume a heavy meal right away. If you feel hungry, you are better off with light foods
like a piece of toast.
If you are feeling sick and experiencing nausea, lie down. A glass of coke can help as well.
Do not consume alcohol or take medications for the remainder of the day, unless otherwise
directed by the dentist.
Take further medications as directed by your dentist.
If anything unusual occurs, call your dentist.
If you are interested in sedation dentistry and are in the Los Angeles or Beverly Hills area,
contact Dr. Anna Gasparova today!