For patients who have experienced a past negative experience at the dentist, the prospect of future treatment can induce significant anxiety. Many people often avoid or delay going to the dentist for this reason which adversely impacts their oral health. IV sedation dentistry offers an ideal solution to calm anxious patients and facilitates effective dental treatment.
What is IV Sedation Dentistry?
IV sedation uses anaesthetic medications that are administered directly into the bloodstream via an IV drip. These medications act quickly to relax your muscles and induce sleepiness while still keeping you conscious, though you will have little to no recollection of the procedure afterwards. Local anaesthetic is also used to reduce pain sensation.
Many patients benefit from IV sedation including people with dental phobias, a strong gag reflex, a fear of needles, and patients who need to undergo complex or lengthy dental treatment.
Is IV Sedation Dentistry Safe?
All types of anaesthesia involve a certain amount of risk. But unlike general anaesthesia, the patient is still conscious throughout the dental procedure with IV sedation. Patients can respond to verbal commands and questions, allowing dentists to assess the patient’s level of comfort and perform dental procedures efficiently.
IV sedation is only administered by dental practitioners and registered anaesthetists who have been extensively trained in sedative use, and the patient is carefully monitored before, during and after the procedure, so the anaesthetist can control the level of anaesthetic received.
The effects of IV sedation dentistry wear off much faster than with general anaesthetic, making it less likely that you will experience any side effects associated with anaesthesia use such as headaches and nausea.
Dental Sedation Guidelines
As with any medical or dental procedure, there are a set of guidelines that have been created by the Australian Dental Association to improve patient safety and ensure the procedure is performed correctly. Some of the aspects of IV sedation dentistry addressed in the guidelines include:
- A patient assessment to determine whether they are a suitable candidate for IV sedation. This consists of a complete medical history and evaluation of the current health status of the patient and informing the patient of the nature of the procedure and what to expect during and after, so that you can obtain informed consent from the patient.
- The practitioner administering the anaesthetic must have the appropriate ANZCA training or postgraduate qualification. They must understand the mechanisms of how the drugs work and any potential drug interactions. They must be able to foresee any complications and know how to manage airways and perform cardiovascular resuscitation.
- Documentation of the drug dosages and the timing of administration which must be included in the patient’s records.
- Any facility where IV sedation is administered must be equipped with resuscitation equipment and cardiopulmonary medications including a defibrillator, oxygen tanks, and ventilation masks. Patient recovery rooms should also have the necessary resuscitation equipment.
- Patients must be monitored continuously throughout the procedure using pulse oximetry, blood pressure and end tidal CO2, all of which should have an alarm to indicate when the patient is not at optimal levels.
- Patients should continue to be closely monitored during recovery and can only be discharged by an authorised dental professional. Patients are only allowed to travel after the effects of the anesthesia have completely worn off, but it is recommended that patients do not drive themselves home to avoid unnecessary risks.
IV sedation dentistry is the perfect solution to calm patient anxiety around dental procedures. At Infinity Dental Care, our staff adheres to the rigorous dental sedation guidelines set by the ADA so you can enjoy a safe and comfortable dental experience.
Call our compassionate staff at Infinity Dental Care at (02) 9159 6237 or book online to discuss whether you might be a candidate for IV sedation, so you never have the avoid the dentist again.