Harlingen Dentistry

Sedation Dentistry

What is IV sedation dentistry?

IV stands for intravenous, which means sedative medication is administered through the veins. Because of its rapid effects many patients prefer this relaxation option.

How does IV sedation work?

IV sedation medication is delivered through a very small needle placed in either the top of your hand or within your inner elbow. What if I am afraid of needles? Fear of needles is not uncommon and some patients aren't able to tolerate IV sedation for this reason. However, most people describe the sensation as a small pinch or prick. Also, dentists can further reduce the feeling by giving you an oral sedative beforehand and/or applying a topical anesthetic where the needle will be placed.

What will my first appointment be like?

After Dr. Burkholder or Dr. Ramos determine your dental needs, you will see an anesthesiologist in our office for a standard consultation. There, he will take a complete health history, conduct a full evaluation of your needs, and explain the procedures being recommended. Your blood pressure, oxygen level, and heart rate will all be measured. It is critical to tell the doctor about all medications and supplements you take so they can check for any potential drug interactions with the sedation medications that will be used. As with all sedation doctors, safety comes first! Once a treatment plan is agreed upon, you fill out paperwork giving your consent for treatment, answer any questions you may have, and issue pre-appointment instructions and/or medications. The doctor may choose to contact your primary care physician or any medical specialists you see for a consultation. This is done to ensure that you are a good candidate for the type of treatment being proposed.

What will my actual treatment appointment be like?

Most doctors require that a patient does not eat or drink eight hours prior to their IV sedation appointment, and a companion is required to take you to and from the dental office. The IV sedation doctor and the dental assistant will be with you at all times. You will never be left alone. Patients are encouraged to wear loose, comfortable clothing and shoes that can easily be removed to ensure total relaxation. Upon lying down in the dental chair, an assistant will bring blankets to wrap around you so you feel comfortable and warm. Your doctor will closely monitor you throughout the entire appointment by tracking your blood pressure, heart rate and rhythm, oxygen level, and pulse. Additional monitoring devices may be used by your doctor if deemed appropriate. Your doctor will also pay close attention to the positioning of your neck and head to ensure that your airway stays open and comfortable. Upon administration of the IV medication, you will quickly begin to feel relaxed and at ease. The sights, smells, and noises around you will dissipate. Wrapped in blankets, you will feel warm and safe. Your dentist can usually accomplish a significantly larger amount of high-quality dentistry while you are sedated. Because your jaw, tongue, and facial muscles are relaxed as well, your dentist can be more efficient and provide you with an ever higher level of treatment excellence.

How long is the recovery time after my appointment?

There is no set amount of recovery time because every patient is different. However, many patients begin to feel more alert soon after the IV medication is stopped. You should not drive or operate heavy machinery for at least 24 hours after the end of your appointment. If you experience any nausea after treatment, your doctor can usually provide a prescription to help. Patients are encouraged to sleep and drink plenty of water and clear fluids for the remainder of the day. In regards to recovery from the actual dental work itself, your dentist will give you individualized instructions for aftercare. Many sedation patients report significantly reduced pain levels the day after their treatment. There are multiple theories for why this is, but the common thought is that because a sedation patient is relaxed and not tense during their appointment.

Please call our office to let us help you with sedation dentistry. 956-428-5566