One of the biggest obstacles that people face when taking care of their teeth is dental fear. Dentists can help you overcome anxiety through IV sedation dentistry, but what can you expect?

Here’s a quick rundown 

  • Your dentist will ensure you are first relaxed
  • They will then insert a tiny cannula into the hand or arm
  • A controlled but gentle sedative is administered, entering the bloodstream.  
  • After a few seconds, you will feel relaxed but awake and able to respond when necessary. 

Before we dive further into what you might expect, let’s take a closer look at IV sedation, why it is used and what procedures it’s used for. 


Firstly, what is IV sedation?

IV or Intravenous sedation falls into the category of sedation dentistry. IV sedation provides a way for patients with dental fear or anxiety to receive the treatment they need in relative comfort. 

Here’s a fact,

Dental fear (known as dentophobia) affects approximately 2.7% of the world’s male population and 4.6% of the world’s female population. Conversely, around 75% of people feel some degree of anxiousness before a trip to the dentist.

The result is that dentists are faced with nervous patients every single day. So that patients receive treatment with the comfort and care they deserve, dentists will often provide a form of conscious sedation.  

A trained dentist can give sedation in the form of 

  • Inhalation – happy gas
  • Oral – a sedative pill
  • Intravenous – IV sedation

As the name suggests, IV sedation is provided intravenously via a small cannula inserted into the arm or the back of the hand. The dentist will then administer a light sedative which is pumped into the bloodstream via the catheter. The sedative in question is usually a form of a benzodiazepine and has three main effects. It

  • Suppresses any feelings of anxiety
  • Induces semi drowsiness and
  • It brings about partial or total amnesia


When Is IV Sedation used?

hero imageSedation dentistry, on the whole, is very safe when administered by a qualified dentist. Anytime a patient is apprehensive of needles, dental procedures, or the dentist, they can ask for sedation dentistry.

A dentist may also recommend sedation dentistry when a patient is undertaking complex or invasive dental procedures such as root canal therapy, tooth extraction or dental implant placement. 

We now know what IV sedation is and when your dentist may use it. Now let’s talk more about what you can expect. 


IV Sedation Dentistry – What To Expect?

The first thing you may feel is a tiny pinch as the dentist places the cannula into the vein of the arm or hand. Once the sedative enters the bloodstream, you will start to feel a little sleepy. Drowsiness occurs quickly, usually within 10-15 minutes after administration, with maximum effects some 15 minutes later.

In addition to feeling drowsy, you’ll probably feel blissfully unaware of what is going on yet remain awake and able to respond to the dentist. Being in a semi-conscious state allows the dentist to carry out any dental procedure while you (the patient) remain relaxed. During the treatment, the dentist will monitor you closely at all times. 

After the dental procedure is complete, you will either be placed in a quiet room or wake up naturally in the dental chair. You may feel a little groggy for around 2-3 hours after treatment, but this can last longer. For this reason, it’s advisable that if you are undergoing sedation dentistry, that you get someone else to drive you home. 

Perhaps the strangest part is that you won’t remember much (if any) of the procedural process. Non-remembrance is very common, for instance, with dental implant patients. Memory loss is natural and is only temporary (lasting for the duration of your treatment on average). 


The benefits of sedation dentistry

IV Sedation and other forms of sleep dentistry allow patients to undergo the treatment they need in relative comfort. Aside from a slight pinch as the cannula goes in, there should be no discomfort. 

Recovery is relatively quick, and unlike a general anaesthetic, you shouldn’t feel queasy after the event.

If you suffer from dental fear or anxiety and need treatment, talk to the team at Beyond 32 Dental. We are highly skilled in the latest sedation dentistry techniques. We’ll talk to you about IV sedation during the consultation and what to expect, allowing you to prepare for your dental procedure.

Get the treatment you need today by booking a consultation or by calling us on (02) 9158 6334. Beyond 32 are your trusted dentists in Cherrybrook.  



Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.