There seems to be a lot of confusion about the difference and effectiveness of IV sedation dentistry and oral sedation dentistry. Both of these are also known as sleep dentistry or sedation dentistry. I hope to bring clarity to this important topic for you, because I know a good portion of the population is scared as heck to go to the dentist and don’t know that these are both effective, proven options for dental sedation, and that they can help change your perspective of going to the dentist.

Many patients come to my office with a severe fear of the dentist. These are patients who were traumatized during childhood dental visits, who had maybe one very bad experience, or who are so embarrassed about the condition of their mouth that it causes severely debilitating anxiety. No matter where the fear comes from, it is a real thing and has caused patients to wait 10 or 20 years before finally making that appointment.

They come to see me because they have heard from people that they care about that I can change their whole dental experience. We focus and cater to the highly dental-phobic, which is one of the main reasons I am a fan of sedation dentistry.

Oral sedation dentistry

With oral sedation, over the course of 30 to 45 minutes I administer a combination of medications underneath your tongue. The underside of the tongue is rich in blood vessels, allowing the sedation medication to absorb into your system very quickly. It produces an extremely relaxed, sleeplike state, and produces almost total amnesia. Most patients only remember arriving at the office and then waking up in the comfort and security of their own beds. It is really that amazing, even for the most fearful patient.

IV sedation dentistry

IV sedation dentistry involves accessing a vein and inserting a needle into it and delivering sedation drugs intravenously or directly through the blood stream. If general anesthesia is needed we will also place a tube through the nose to assist breathing, much like in a hospital operating room.

Which type of sedation is right for you?

Both oral sedation dentistry and IV sedation dentistry are very effective, so which is best? That depends on several factors. Both methods are safe and effective.

We usually use IV sedation, coupled with general anesthesia in the most challenging cases. These could involve patients with long medical histories that involve things like pain pill dependence, back problems, autoimmune disorders, and psychiatric conditions or when very complex dental work is required.

By contrast, we are able to do oral sedation in the majority of our cases. Ultimately, which method we choose will come down to a conversation between me and each patient. Either option will allow me and my team to work for hours at a time, which gives us the flexibility to change our patients’ lives in as little as one or two appointments. Knowing that there are multiple ways to approach a procedure gives my patients peace of mind because they can choose a method that we are both comfortable with.

I believe in the power of sedation dentistry. It has the power to transform lives and smiles and it can turn the most phobic dental patient into the most thankful patient. Once a highly anxious patient undergoes sedation, they usually tell me that I have forever changed their view of dental appointments. They only wish they had known about it sooner.

Call us today to schedule your next dentistry appointment – sedation dentistry may change your life!