IV Sedation Dentistry

Many people would love to sleep through their dental treatments, and unfortunately, that is not an option in every dental office.  The great news is that it is an option at Timberlake Dental.  Dr. Chowning has undergone extensive education and training in order to provide this valuable sedation option for his patients.  In this week’s article, we will explain all you need to know about IV sedation and how we use it to help people get the vital dental care they need.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

The term “sedation dentistry” simply means that patients are undergoing dental treatments while sedated.  For most people, sedation allows them to sleep throughout the entire procedure, and for some, it simply removes the unpleasant sights, sounds, smells, etc… of the dental office.

Dentists can provide sedation for patients through a variety of methods.  We will focus on intravenous (IV) sedation in this article.  The other options typically offered include oral sedation (taking a pill that causes sleepiness) and laughing gas (nitrous oxide, an inhaled medication that does not technically sedate, but rather simply relaxes the patient).

In sedation dentistry, your dentist administers a medication that induces relaxation or sleeping prior to beginning the dental procedure.  These medications produce an amnesia-like effect so that even those who do not sleep through their entire visit will not remember much, if anything, of the dental work.

What is IV Sedation?

IV sedation in particular uses intravenous administration of the medication.  This allows the sedative medication to quickly enter the bloodstream, providing a very fast onset of action.  This is in contrast to oral sedation, which may require forty-five minutes to an hour for the medicine to “kick in”.

Because the sedative medication does not have to go through the digestive tract in order to reach the bloodstream as oral medications do, we can also adjust the level of sedation throughout the procedure.

Is IV Sedation Safe?


Most people mistakenly assume that taking an oral medication (a pill) is the safest method of sedation.  Oral medications are actually far less predictable than medicine administered intravenously.   This is due to the wide range or responses to and metabolism of oral medications.

For example, the effects of oral sedation can differ based on age, weight, body composition, interactions from other medications, tolerance to sedation medications from prior drug use, etc… The different ways in which a person’s body can distribute, metabolism and eliminate the medication means that it is difficult to predict how quickly it will take effect and how long it will stay in effect.

With IV sedation, your doctor can precisely titrate the medication to your specific needs.  In medicine, predictability is always a desirable trait!

Who Should Opt for IV Sedation?

IV sedation is not just for those who are afraid of the dentist.  While it is certainly a wonderful option for those who experience fear or anxiety at the thought of undergoing dental treatment, it is also a great option for others.

Many people choose to undergo sedation for dental procedures that may require a long appointment.  Some who need extensive treatment like the idea of having all of the treatment performed in one visit while they “sleep” through it.  We even recommend IV sedation for procedures that require a high degree of precision, especially if the patient finds the notion of sitting still in the dental chair for several hours to be difficult.

The projected time for the dental procedure is not the only factor to consider.  Many people choose IV sedation for procedures that, while not painful, may produce unpleasant sensations.  The best example of this is the extraction of wisdom teeth.  The procedure itself may only take thirty minutes, but some people choose to forego the sensations of pressure and pulling associated with extractions.

More Questions about IV Sedation?

Call Timberlake Dental today at 940-382-1750 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chowning.  He can answer all of your questions about IV sedation and help you choose the best option for your necessary dental care.

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