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Comparing Oral and Intravenous Sedation

Comparing Oral and Intravenous Sedation

Sedation dentistry provides a way for those who experience anxiety or fear about visiting the dentist to get the treatment they need. It is also helping in relieving pain, and enabling more dental work to be performed in one visit. Two common methods of administering sedation are oral and intravenous (IV). Each type has its own unique characteristics and attributes.

Oral sedation involves swallowing pills or liquids. There are no shots, which is good news for patients afraid of needles. However, oral sedatives are less predictable because each medication affects people differently based on age, weight, medical history, and more. Also, there is a time delay between swallowing it and taking effect. Since the medication is absorbed through digestion, it is difficult to alter the sedation level quickly during treatment. Nearly all patients respond well to oral sedation, with few occurrences of any side effects. Patients typically don’t remember anything that occurred during treatment.

IV sedation means that the medication goes directly into the blood stream though an IV injection. A very powerful method, the effects are instant once the shot is given. If the medication begins to wear off, more can be administered through the IV for immediate results. IV sedation is very common during oral surgeries, which benefit from the ability to alter the medication dosage as needed. It is advantageous for long procedures or when multiple treatments are being done in one sitting. Patients will not remember the procedure or sometimes even the appointment at all. The biggest drawback of IV sedation is for patients who dislike needles. IV sedation requires that the dentist have special training and certification, so make sure that your dentist is qualified if this method is offered.

Both types of sedation can be effective depending on the situation and patient. Discuss your case with your dentist to help you decide which one might be the best for you.


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