In this blog, we’re going to discuss the process of IV sedation from a historical perspective to practical considerations.
First a really, really brief historical perspective. IV sedation kickstarted in the 1650’s. William Harvey was an English physician who discovered the circulatory system of the body through theory and experimentation. He showed that arteries and veins form a complete circuit traveling through the heart.
After Harvey discovered that blood circulates this caused two gentlemen to successfully administer opium to a dog via the bloodstream. Prior to Harvey it was common thought that blood traveled to organs in an open system which would not be conducive for drug administration. Doctors over the centuries advanced the techniques and developed what we now know as modern IV sedation.
We will help you set up a consultation with one of our dentists. During this visit you will get to meet some of the office staff and get a feel for the office. You will meet with our dentist where you will talk about your treatment goals. Treatment goals in essence is when our dentist and you look at your mouth. We will identify if anything needs to be done and an order of priority determined to get your mouth to its best state of health. If you’re coming in for cosmetic treatment then you will discuss all the relevant details so you and our doctor are on the same page. Your medical and dental history will be taken to ensure your safety, as not everyone can undergo in-office IV sedation. Necessary vitals will be taken along with any pertinent X-rays or models. Any questions regarding the treatment and sedation will be discussed. The office will go over insurance coverage and payment plans if applicable.
Scheduling your Sedation Appointment
You then schedule your sedation appointment. Typically these will be morning appointments due to eating and drinking restrictions from 6 hours prior to the appointment. If you take medications in the morning you will need to discuss this with our doctor prior to your appointment. Someone will need to accompany you who can drive you home and stay with you. Our office will go over the post-op instructions with the responsible adult who will be accompanying you home. On the day of sedation, you can’t go to work or school. You want to stay home and take it easy. After sedation the only person you can take care of is you. So if you have children or pets make sure someone will be available to take care of them.
What To Expect When Sedated
You will come with an adult who will drive you home when the procedure is complete. You will be brought back into a treatment room where your vitals will be taken. You may be given an oral sedative pill. In direct IV sedation a tourniquet will be used to allow for easier access to your veins. A tourniquet is used to prevent the return of venous blood from the periphery to the heart while allowing for the unimpeded flow of arterial blood into the limb, thereby engorging the veins making them more visible and easier for IV placement. Think of it as a traffic light; when the light is red traffic stops temporarily and when it is green, (the tourniquet being removed), traffic continues its flow.
Tourniquets may be a rubber elastic band, (probably what you’ve seen when you give blood at your doctor’s office), a velcro band or a blood pressure cuff. The injection site is prepared with alcohol and numbing cream, and a catheter or indwelling needle will be placed in the vein. Our doctor will then aspirate the site of injection to make sure they are in the lumen of the vein. Aspirating means that our doctor will draw back the syringe and make sure they see blood as this confirms they are in the vein and ready to administer the drugs. The tourniquet is then removed, the needle/catheter secured, and the flow of IV sedation begins.
The way IV sedation is administered is called titration. This basically means that the dose is very controlled, and the least amount of medication required is used to ensure you are completely comfortable and don’t feel a thing. The rate of infusion is adjusted to maintain a slow flow that will prevent needle occlusion throughout the procedure. After the procedure is complete, the drug administration will cease and you will wake up, albeit feeling a little out of it or groggy. Remember, throughout the procedure you will not feel anything.
We hope this helps you understand what to expect if you’re thinking of undergoing IV sedation for dental treatment. Our Briar Pointe Dentistry team in Novi, MI is here to make sure you receive the care you need. Dr. Neil Blavin and Dr. Rikki Blavin look forward to helping you. Please call 248-347-0030 to schedule a consultation!