Intravenous Sedation

What is sedation?

Sedation is a state of depression of the central nervous system, produced by the carefully controlled use of certain drugs.

What drugs are used?

The drugs most commonly used are benzodiazepines, which are chemically related to diazepam (Valium®).

Which benzodiazepine is most often used?

Midazolam (Hypnoval®) is most often used.

By what route are these drugs administered?

By intravenous (iv) injection.

What are the advantages of an injection?

Sedation by injection, usually administered into a vein in the back of the hand or arm, is the most predictable method. It acts quickly, its duration is short and it is controllable.

Why is sedation used?

Sedation enables nervous patients to tolerate routine dental treatment and “good patients” to have more extensive treatment performed.

Will I be unconscious?

No, you will be in a deeply relaxed state, but you will be able to respond. You may fall asleep but will always be able to respond when spoken to. Time will appear to go very quickly and an hour of treatment will appear to take about 10 minutes.

Will I feel pain?

No, it is an integral part of the technique that local anesthetic is used to prevent pain. You will not remember receiving these local anaesthetic injections.

Is it safe?

It is extremely safe. Midazolam is a safe drug, the technique employed preserves your reflexes throughout the procedure and carries a wide safety margin.

What are the advantages of sedation to me?

It makes dental and other procedures more pleasant. It is safe and effective. You will be relaxed, calm, and removed from the procedure.

What happens at the sedation appointment?

  • Please have a light breakfast or lunch prior to the appointment.
  • A cannula (drip) will be placed in your arm.
  • The drug (midazolam) will be administered. After a few seconds you will begin to feel quite relaxed, almost as if you have drunk some alcohol, most people find this sensation very pleasant. This is usually the last thing you remember, when you recover from the sedation, the treatment will have been completed.

  • Recovery

    You will be monitored for at least one hour after the injection of the sedative, during this period the pulse oximeter probe will remain on your finger, you will also have a blood pressure recording cuff on your arm.

    Accompaniment / Escort

    You are required to have a responsible adult to accompany you home and stay with you for the remainder of the day. When you return home it is recommended to rest in bed for a further three hours with your head propped up (If you lie completely flat you are more likely to bleed).

    Driving, alcohol etc

    You must not drive, drink alcohol, use machinery, cook or sign any legal documents for the remainder of the day. It is unwise to take any important decisions for the remainder of the day.