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Intravenous Conscious Sedation is when an anti-anxiety drug is administered into the blood system during treatment.

IV Sedation is helpful to patients who are nervous or apprehensive about dental procedures or who require complicated or lengthy treatments.  It can help massively with patients who are scared of dentistry. We are fully compliant with the latest guidelines and are members of SAAD, the regulating body for sedation procedures.

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01268 541 087


Dentistry Under Sedation

What does it feel like?

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You will remain conscious during conscious IV sedation and you will be able to understand and respond to the dentist. You may not remember much or anything at all after your treatment as the drugs used for IV sedation produce a partial or full memory loss from the time the drug kicks in until the time they wear off. Sedation gives a feeling of not being bothered by what is going on as you are in a deep state of relaxation. You will feel that time passes very quickly and may feel as if you have been to sleep. While the drugs relax you, it is still necessary to be numbed with local anaesthetic. You will not be numbed until the sedation is working and treatment will not begin until the local anaesthetic has taken effect.

How is IV administered?

The drug is put into the vein either in the arm or the back of the hand. The needle once in place is removed leaving a soft plastic tube in place, the drugs are put in through this tube (indwelling catheter), this tube is then left in place throughout your treatment. The area that the needle goes will be numbed beforehand with a numbing cream. During your procedure your pulse and oxygen levels will be measured. This is done with a gadget that clips onto your finger, which gives a warning sign if your oxygen level is getting too low. A blood pressure measuring machine is used to monitor your blood pressure throughout your treatment.

The drugs used for IV sedation are most commonly Anti-anxiety sedatives (benzodiazepines) – Midazolam and Diazepam. The 3 main effects reduce anxiety, make you sleepy and produce partial or total amnesia.

Midazolam leaves your system faster than some other drugs, its short duration of action is why it is the first choice of drugs to use. It is administered at the rate of 1mg every 2 minutes. Diazepam is longer lasting and can be slightly uncomfortable when it enters the veins this is administered at the rate of 1mg per minute.

Because of the differences between each patient the amount of the drug required is different for each individual, your response to the drug is monitored and once the desired level of sedation is reached, the drug is stopped.

The sedation can be topped up at any time and reversal agents can administered in the unlikely event of an emergency.

Can everyone have sedation?

IV sedation is a very safe procedure when carried out under the supervision of a specially trained dentist.

Some patients/conditions would not be suitable:

Pregnant Mothers

Patients with an allergy to benzodiazepines

Alcohol Intoxication

CNS depression

Some instances of glaucoma

Cautions would apply to patients with sleep apnea, psychosis or impaired lung or kidney or liver function.

Please let us know if you have been taking benzodiazepines for a long period of time as you can build up a tolerance to the drug.

What are the main advantages of having IV sedation?

IV sedation is quick to work, drug dosage can be tailored to each individual.

Is a great method to use if the patient would like to be unaware of the procedure.

IV sedation is deeper than oral sedation or inhalation sedation.

Benzodiazepines produce amnesia for the procedure.

Patients rarely have difficulty with gagging, also if inhalation sedation has not been successful in reducing severe gag reflex, then IV sedation can used for this purpose.

Does not cause any complications with receiving treatment as the patient is conscious and can cooperate with instructions and the airway is not compromised.

What are the disadvantages of having IV sedation?

It is possible to have complications where the needle enters – hematoma (localized swelling filled with blood).

Recovery is not complete at the end of treatment, which is why an Escort is required to take the patient home and stay with them.

Ensure sedation is only used if you want to be sedated.

IV sedation is used due to its amnesia effect, however the downside to this is it will not help patients to unlearn their fears of dentistry as they will not remember that the procedure was not uncomfortable or not threatening.

You must be careful that sedation is not used as a substitute to other behavioural techniques that concentrate on overcoming fears surrounding dentistry.

Cost can be a disadvantage.

Before and After IV sedation

It is advised that you only have a light meal before your treatment.


After your appointment:

You must have an escort take you home and stay with you until you are fully alert.

Rest for the remainder of the day, no strenuous activities and do not drive for 24 hrs after IV sedation.

Do not drink alcohol or take any medication, unless directed to by the dentist.

If you are hungry only have a very light meal.

If you have any problems contact your dentist immediately.

Contact us today to book a consultation or if you require more information