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  Dr Minh Nguyen
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Will I be asleep?

A lot of dental offices 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. In reality, you remain conscious during IV sedation. You will also be able to understand and respond to requests from your dentist.

However, you may not remember much about what went on because of two factors: firstly, in most people, IV sedation induces a state of deep relaxation and a feeling of not being bothered by what's going on. Secondly, the drugs used for IV sedation can 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, or perhaps even nothing at all, of what happened. So it may, indeed, appear as if you were "asleep" during the procedure.

Is it still necessary to be numbed with local anaesthetic? Will my dentist numb my gums before or after I'm sedated?

The drugs which are usually used for IV sedation are not painkillers (although some pain-killing drugs are occasionally added, see below for a more detailed discussion), but anti-anxiety drugs. While they relax you and make you forget what happens, you will still need to be numbed.

If you have a fear of injections, you will not be numbed until the IV sedation has fully kicked in. If you have a phobia of needles, you will very probably be relaxed enough not to care by this stage. Your dentist will then wait until the local anaesthetic has taken effect (i. e. until you're numb) before starting on any procedure.


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