Fear of the dental
experience has been demonstrated to be one of the most significant barriers to
the delivery of quality dental care. When the stress of the dental treatment
situation is combined with dental fears, some patients find themselves unable to
successfully have dental treatment done. In our practice, the most common type
of anesthesia used is local anesthesia. In most cases, this is the only drug
agent necessary. Most patients tolerate the local anesthesia well, and they
recognize this feeling of having their lip numb for a dental procedure.
There are many people who require a different approach for various reasons.
For the patient who fears the required treatment, I.V. sedation offers
a way to have required dental treatment done in a non-threatening manner.
Other patients who benefit are those who need surgical procedures or a
very large amount of work to be done at one time.
For these situations, we
use intravenous sedation because it is a very conservative and appropriate method
of controlled patient management during dental procedures. Sedation is the
calming of a nervous, apprehensive individual through the use of drugs, without
inducing the loss of consciousness. This highly effective technique requires
the introduction of drugs directly into a vein, and it has the advantage of
giving maximum control to the treating doctor as well as giving comfort to the
Intravenous sedation is not general anesthesia. The patientís protective
reflexes are still in place, including the ability for the patient to maintain
his own airway. Appropriate monitoring equipment is used during the I.V.
sedation appointment. A pulse oximeter, an EKG monitor, and supplemental
oxygen will be used during the appointment. The use of intravenous sedation
has been a very effective tool in our practice for outpatient dental care
in many different situations.