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.