Prior to having dental care performed with IV sedation, you will have a comprehensive dental exam, including a thorough review of your medical history. If necessary, the dentist will consult with your physician to make sure you are a candidate for IV sedation in the dental office.
Before IV sedation you should:
Be accompanied to and from the appointment.
Not eat or drink after midnight the day before.
If you need to take prescription medication, speak to both your physician and dentist.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing to the appointment.
Don’t wear contact lenses, oral appliances (dentures, retainers, etc.), or watches/jewelry.
During sedation, you will be closely and continuously monitored by the dentist and staff members, using electronic equipment that shows blood pressure, heart rate, the amount of oxygen in the blood and, often, your heart function on an EKG monitor. After the procedure is over, you will not be released until it is safe for you to go home. You and the person taking you home will receive post-treatment and home care instructions including what you should eat and drink. It is usually okay to resume eating and drinking after getting home from the dental appointment, provided the numbness from the local anesthesia has worn off. Drinking lots of water is important after sedation since you will have been without food or water for several hours and may be dehydrated. If there is any soreness, especially after surgery where teeth need to settle down or tissues need to heal, keep off the affected area/s until they feel comfortable. A soft, healthy diet that doesn’t require chewing will be best; try milk shakes or protein/nutrition drinks, for example.
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 of time 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.