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IV Conscious Sedation Dentistry FAQs

Proven Way to Enhance Comfort, Prevent Pain & Anxiety

It is estimated that 15% of the population avoids dental care due to acute anxiety and as much as 60% of the population admits to some level of dental fear and apprehension. Today, IV conscious dentistry allows a way to provide dental care for patients who experience dental anxiety and apprehension.

We believe that fear should not stand between you and a stunning smile which is why we specialize in IV conscious sedation dentistry. Forget about your dental phobias with IV sedation dentistry.

man smiling in dental chair
What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry,” sedation dentistry uses medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. In most cases, patients are usually awake during treatment with the exception of those under general anesthesia.

What are the Benefits of Sedation Dentistry?

There are several benefits to sedation dentistry, including:

  • No memory of undergoing the procedure
  • No sense of time while under sedation
  • No sense of smell or sound
  • No fear or anxiety during treatment
Will I Feel Any Pain During IV Sedation?

Most patients feel no discomfort during their dental treatment and feel surprisingly good afterward.

doctor examining dental patient
What are the Types of Sedation Dentistry?

The following are the types of sedation used in dentistry:

  • Inhaled minimal sedation: Patients breathe nitrous oxide (laughing gas) combined with oxygen through a mask to help them relax. Your dentist controls the amount of sedation you receive. The gas wears off quickly and it is the only form of sedation where patients can drive themselves home following the procedure.
  • Oral sedation: This type of sedation can range from minimal to moderate and is given via a pill. Taken about 1 hour prior to treatment, the pill makes you drowsy although you’ll still be awake. With a higher dose some patients become groggy enough to fall asleep during treatment but can usually be awakened with a gentle shake.
  • IV moderate sedation: The sedative is administered through a vein so it goes to work quickly. This method of sedation allows the dentist to continually adjust the level of sedation. With this method you are in a semi-awake state and will likely have little to no memory of the treatment.
  • Deep sedation or general anesthesia: The sedation medication will make you either almost unconscious or totally unconscious – deeply asleep – during the procedure. While you are under general anesthesia, you cannot be easily awakened until the effects of the anesthesia wear off or are reversed with medication.
IV Conscious Sedation vs General Anesthesia

With IV conscious sedation you are awake during your dental treatment but will feel no pain. During general anesthesia, you are completely asleep and cannot be aroused – not even by painful stimulation. Plus, general anesthesia requires additional support for breathing and can alter heart rate and other life-support functions which means an anesthesiologist is required to monitor all vital signs including blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse.

IV sedation puts you in a much safer and more comfortable “semi-awake” state of reduced anxiety. After the procedure, you will most likely have little or no memory of the treatment because of the amnesic effect of the medications used to provide the sedation. While under sedation you are able to respond to verbal commands or to a light physical touch. With IV conscious sedation you need no medical assistance to maintain adequate breathing and heart function.

sedation dentist seattle
Can Any Dentist Perform Sedation?

While most dentists can administer minimal sedation such as nitrous oxide or oral sedation, only a small percentage of dentists can offer more complex techniques such as IV conscious sedation. Some dentists use a dentist anesthesiologist who is specially trained to give all levels of sedation and anesthesia to both children and adults. At Smiles @ Southcenter, Dr. Miller is licensed to perform IV conscious sedation dentistry. In fact, he was the first general dentist in the state of Washington to become licensed in IV sedation dentistry.

A dentist who is IV certified and licensed to administer IV sedation has received additional specialty training and has been legally certified by the state’s Board of Dental Examiners to deliver medical drugs that alter a patient’s consciousness for a comfortable, pain-free treatment.

smiles @ southcenter tukwila dentist
Why Should I Consider Sedation?

Many patients find that sedation helps them to have a more positive experience at the dentist, even if they do not suffer from dental anxiety. If you gag easily or if your teeth are extremely sensitive, being sedated may make it easier for you to be treated. Some patients may also like to receive a sedative if they are having multiple cavities filled or are undergoing a long procedure such as deep gum cleaning.

Is Sedation Dentistry Only Good for Specific Procedures?

IV sedation is available for virtually any procedure you might need to undergo at your dentist’s office, from oral surgery to routine examinations and cleanings. Sedation is safe for most patients, but your dentist will check your medical history and any medications you’re currently taking to make sure that it’s the right choice for you.

Is Sedation Only Helpful if You Suffer from Dental Anxiety?

Even if you don’t suffer from any anxiety about the dentist’s office, sedation can still be valuable to you. If you have a strong gag reflex, sedation can help ensure that you stay comfortable while you are being treated by your dentist. Sedation can also be helpful for restless patients who need to have a lot of dental work done in a single visit. Sedation can even be used in combination with anesthesia to ensure that you remain totally calm and free of pain during any procedure.

Will I Remember My Dental Treatment?

Most patients have little to no memory of their dental treatment. This is one of the reasons that patients love IV sedation dentistry.

Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?

Most patients have no trouble with IV sedation but prior to starting any treatment, we review your medical history. During treatment, we also monitor you very closely.

Will I be Groggy After My Treatment?

Following treatment, you will feel fine. But for your safety, we do require that you have a family member or friend drive you home.

Have More Questions?

If you have additional questions about IV conscious sedation give our office a call today at 206-575-9150. We are happy to answer your questions and to help you determine if IV conscious sedation dentistry is right for you.

Smiles @ Southcenter


15425 53rd Ave S
Tukwila, WA 98188

Hours of Operation

Monday: 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Tuesday: 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Wednesday: 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Thursday: 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Friday: 7:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Saturday: 7:00 AM – 2:00 PM

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