Sedation Dentistry Questions and Answers

Who is a candidate for IV sedation?

  • Severe gag reflex
  • Difficult to get numb
  • Long extended involved procedures
  • Medically compromised
  • Fearful of dentistry
  • Painful, sensitive teeth
  • Difficultly keeping your mouth open
  • Surgical procedures
  • Avoid multiple appointments

How does it compare to ‘oral sedation’ as seen in media ads?

  • the term 'oral sedation' is a misnomer. The state of Florida does not recognize oral sedation. Oral anxiolytics take the edge off but true sedation anesthesia should come from titration. Oral meds cannot be titrated to predictable safe levels. IV sedation allows us to see the patient’s response to an incremental dosage and adjust it as needed for the patient’s comfort. The IV is also a lifeline to protect the patient against over sedating. Every medication which we may inject is reversible within a very short period of time to protect you. So called oral sedationists will not be able to predictably offer immediate reversal if they "guess" at the intended level but accidently over-sedate you. Don't fall for the "I am a sleep dentist" advertisements you hear on the radio. IV sedation requires a higher level of training and expertise as required by the state of Florida.

What is an amnestic effect?

  • You will have no or very little remembrance of anything you experienced in the appointment
  • you will always have assistants present with the doctor for a team approach. Your family is welcome to come and go as they desire during your IV sedation procedure

Can I drive?

  • you may drive to the appointment but you may not drive afterwards. You must have someone give you a ride.

Do I have to not eat or drink for 8 hours before the appointment?

  • Since we do not use gas it is not as critical regarding nausea. The recommendations are to discontinue food at least for a few hours before but a piece of toast and fluids before hand are most likely acceptable. No greasy food. No indulgence. You should begin to hydrate by drinking lots of fluids 2 days before the sedation appointment and up to the day of the appointment. It makes it easier to find a vein and to start an IV and also is safer for your health. We do give fluids constantly during the procedure for your health.
  • You should take your normal medication except for narcotics
  • You must report to us what medications you have taken beforehand
  • If you are asthmatic you should bring your inhaler even though we have one.

How is the IV Sedation monitored?

  • The staff and doctor are trained in CPR, BLS for the healthcare provider, and ACLS (advanced cardiac life support)
  • We use pulse oximetry, visual, ekg (prn), cyclic blood pressure, and capnography. Capnography allows us to monitor moment by moment ventilation or exchange of oxygen so that we know you are breathing correctly. This is a form of "end tidal C02" monitoring, which is typically used in hospitals. We have gone the extra mile to provide this level of safety for our sedation patients.
  • We have an AED (automatic defibrillator) and the full array of ACLS meds as mandated by the Board of Dentistry.

How deep do you get me? Will I be totally asleep?

  • We do not do general anesthesia which is a drug induced sleep which may require issues with breathing reflexes. We use IV or conscious sedation. You will be able to maintain your own airway and breathe on your own. You will be able to be aroused upon our effort. As far as sleeping, while it is not an induced sleep, many patients fall asleep just as many do without any sedation. The main thing is that you will be so relaxed you will not care what we are doing and you will not remember the procedures of the appointment.