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What is intravenous sedation?

Intravenous (IV) sedation is used to help people who are very anxious cope with dental treatment. It is also useful if you are to have a surgical procedure performed.

How is intravenous sedation given?

“Intravenous” means that the drug is given through a vein. An extremely thin needle is placed into a vein close to the surface of the skin into either the back of the hand or the arm. The needle is then removed leaving a soft plastic tube in place called a cannula. The sedation drug is given through this plastic tube. Throughout the procedure, your pulse and oxygen levels are measured using a “pulse oximeter”. This clips onto a finger and measures pulse and oxygen saturation.

What does it feel like? Will I be asleep?

Intravenous sedation does not make you go to sleep. You will feel drowsy and relaxed and will be able to understand and respond to requests from your dentist. Time will appear to pass very quickly and most people remember very little of the treatment afterwards. You will still have local anaesthetic to numb the treatment area but this will not be given until you are sedated.

What drugs are used?

A sedative, anti-anxiety drug called midazolam.

Before IV sedation:

1. You must bring a responsible adult with you who must be present at the beginning of the appointment. Children must not be brought to the appointment. This escort is required for your safe journey home.

2. No food or drink should be taken within 4 hours of the appointment.

3. You must take your routine medicines at the usual time. Bring inhalers with you.

4. You should wear flat shoes and comfortable clothing that does not constrict your breathing or the ability to roll up your sleeves.

5. You must not drink any alcohol for 24 hours before your appointment.

After IV sedation:

1. You must travel home with your escort by car or taxi.

2. You must stay resting quietly at home for the rest of the day with a responsible adult present.

3. You must not drive until the next day.

4. You must not use any equipment that may harm you e.g. kettles, cookers, knives, power tools.

5. You must not sign any legal or business documents until the following day.

6. You must not drink alcohol for at least 24 hours after sedation.

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