We offer intravenous sedation to patients that are nervous or undergoing traumatic treatment. With conscious sedation, the sedative drug is administered by injection in your arm. The onset of sedation is rapid and precise, although you remain in verbal contact with your dentist, you may remember very little about your treatment.
Recovery is slow and you need a responsible adult to escort you home. You may feel sleepy and you are not allowed to do anything responsible for 24 hours. This technique is popular with patients and is used to overcome the fear of dentistry. It offers a safer and more powerful alternative to general anesthesia.
What does it feel like? Will I be asleep?
A lot of dental offices and practices use terms such as “sleep dentistry” or “twilight sleep” when talking about IV sedation. This is confusing, because it suggests that IV sedation involves being put to sleep. These terms are more descriptive of deep sedation. Deep sedation isn’t commonly used, and is classified as general anesthesia (even though sedation occurs on a continuum).
You remain conscious during conscious IV sedation. You will also be able to understand and respond to requests from your dentist.
However, you may not remember much (or anything at all) about what went on because of two things:
- IV sedation induces a state of deep relaxation and a feeling of not being bothered by what’s going on.
- the drugs used for IV sedation produce either partial or full memory loss (amnesia) for the period when the drug first kicks in until it wears off. As a result, time will appear to pass very quickly and you 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.