Intravenous Sedation

Your dentist has discussed with you to have dental treatment carried whilst under intravenous sedation. This means that a sedative drug (medicine) is given to you by injection into a vein. The sedation makes you drowsy and helps reduce anxiety.  Intravenous sedation is usually given by using a single drug called midazolam. A dose of the drug is chosen for you individually. It is given by injection and is usually into a vein in the back of your hand or in your arm through a cannula.  A cannula is a thin flexible tube, a needle is used to put the cannula in but is then removed immediately. It is normal to feel a sharp scratch when the cannula is inserted. Once the cannula is in the vein, the sedation drug can be given without using any more needles. The cannula remains in until the clinican has checked that you have recovered from the sedation but it will be removed before you go home.  We do not offer any other form of sedation within the Clinic.

The first appointment will normally include an assessment when your dental treatment under sedation will be planned and discussed with you. The dental treatment under sedation will take place at the second appointment.  It will be carried out under the care of our Sedation Team, which consists of Nadir Khan, Marilou Ciantar, Roxanne Hausrath, Stacy Macdonald and Sian Mailer.  Working together in small teams, they watch you closely using appropriate monitoring equipment. You will be observed until you have made a full recovery from the sedation and will be handed over to the care of your appointed escort.  As with the administration of any medicines, there are risks associated with intravenous sedation,

These might include:

• A reduction of oxygen in the blood stream due to poor breathing during sedation. You may be asked by your sedation team to take deep breaths to correct this. Your breathing and oxygen levels will be monitored throughout the procedure.

• Bruising at the site of the cannula. This may take several days to fade completely.

Very rare risks include allergic reactions to the sedative drugs that you have been given or vomiting during the procedure. Your sedation team will discuss any concerns that you may have prior to the procedure taking place. It is important that you let the clinican know your medical history, including any medicines that you are taking. Or if you have ever had any problems with having either sedation or a general anaesthetic in the past.

If you think you may be pregnant, you need to let the clinican know as pregnant ladies cannot receive sedation. You may need to come back to have your treatment at another time. You should also let the clinican know if you are breastfeeding.

Your clinican will discuss with you and explain what you are able to eat and drink prior to your appointment. You will also be given this information in writing, it is important that these instructions are followed carefully.  The information provided here is a general guide for patients having dental treatment with sedation.  As part of the face-to-face discussions with your clinician, you may be given advice that is specific to your treatment plan. This may differ in some areas to the general principles outlined here.   Before any treatment is started, the clinican will ask you to confirm consent. This means that you understand the planned treatment and how you will receive the sedation.

What to expect:

You will remain conscious during this kind of sedation.

You may experience a temporary loss of memory during the time that you are sedated. Many patients have no memory of the procedure at all. You may feel unsteady on your feet for some hours after the procedure. Your ability to think clearly and make judgements may be affected for the next 24 hours. You may experience some forgetfulness.

Once you are sedated, the clinican can use local analgesia (pain relief that numbs the site of the dental treatment).

You will spend some time recovering following your treatment. You will be checked by the sedation before you can go home and you must be accompanied by an able-bodied adult who can take responsibility for you following your treatment. This person may need to stay with you overnight. If arrangements have not been made for someone to accompany you after treatment, you will not be able to have the sedation.            

 If you have any questions or are unclear about having your sedation, then do not hesitate to ask your clinican or sedation team.

After the treatment:

Your judgement will be affected by the drugs and can be similar to the effects of consuming alcohol. You should not drive a car, ride a bicycle or operate machinery for 24 hours after being treated under sedation. You should also not take responsibility for the care of others, use sharp implements or cook. It would be unwise to make any irreversible decisions for up to 24 hours following your treatment, bearing that in mind please do not sign any legal documents. Owing to the after effects of the drugs used, care should be taken when using the internet for personal communication.                         

 Before you are discharged, the sedation team will give you and the adult accompanying you (escort) important information about your care. The clinican will also provide details of pain relief as well as how and when to take other prescription medicines.

You will be given a telephone number of who to contact if you have any problems as a result of your treatment.