I.V. Sedation (Moderate to Deep Sedation)
Q: What is I.V. sedation?
A: Intravenous (I.V.) means that the medicine is put into a vein. I.V. sedation induces a state of deep relaxation and a feeling of not being bothered by what’s going on. The drugs used for I.V. sedation produce either partial or full memory loss (amnesia) for the period of time when the drug first kicks in until it wears off. As a result, time will appear to pass very quickly and your child will not recall much of what happened. Many people remember nothing at all. So it may, indeed, appear as if you were “asleep” during the procedure. Due to the risks of any surgical procedure and high cost, only children with extensive treatment or severe anxiety are recommended for this type of sedation. Typically, these children are young or have compromised health issues. Moreover, standard behavior management techniques are not an effective tool to accomplish treatment.
Q: How are pediatric dentists making sure I.V. sedation is provided in a safe environment?
A: We strive to provide your child with the safest and most comfortable environment in which to have dental treatment completed. When I.V. sedation is needed, we have a board-certified dental anesthesiologist and a board-certified M.D. Anesthesiologist who provide I.V. Sedation in our office and monitor your child throughout the procedure and during recovery. The anesthesiologist will talk with you prior to the visit to provide instructions and answer any questions that you may have. If your child requires this type of treatment, we will gladly discuss any further concerns you may have.
Q: What special considerations are associated with an I.V. sedation appointment?
A: Prior to dental treatment, we recommend minimal discussion with your child regarding the details of the upcoming appointment in order to reduce anxiety. Explain they are "going to go to sleep when their teeth are being fixed". Regarding eating and drinking, it is important NOT to eat or drink anything past midnight the night before the sedation. Food and fluid intake guidelines will be discussed in more detail prior to the appointment. If there is a change in your child’s health, that includes being sick or running a fever, contact our office immediately! It may be necessary to arrange another appointment. Usually, children are tired following sedation. You may wish to return home with minimal activity planned for your child until the next day. After that, you can usually return to a routine schedule. Detailed post-treatment instructions will delineate more information regarding physical activity, diet, oral hygiene, and management of pain, swelling and bleeding.