Is it still necessary to be numbed with local anaesthetic? Will my dentist numb my gums before or after I’m sedated?
The drugs which are usually used for IV sedation are not painkillers (although some pain-killing drugs are occasionally added in our office such as Fentanyl), but anti-anxiety drugs. While they relax you and make you forget what happens, you will still need to be numbed.
If you have a fear of injections, you will not be numbed until the IV sedation has fully taken affect. If you have a phobia of needles, you will most likely be relaxed enough not to care by this stage. Your dentist will then wait until the local anaesthetic has taken effect (i.e. until you’re numb) before starting on any procedure.
How is IV sedation administered?
“Intravenous” means that the drug is put into a vein. An extremely thin needle is put into a vein close to the surface of the skin in either the arm or the back of your hand. This needle is wrapped up with a soft plastic tube. The needle makes the entry into the vein, then is removed leaving the soft plastic tube in place. The drugs are put in through that tube (which is correctly referred to as an “indwelling catheter”, ). The tube stays in place throughout the procedure.
Throughout the procedure, your pulse and oxygen levels are measured using a “pulse oximeter”. This gadget clips onto a finger or an earlobe and measures pulse and oxygen saturation. It gives a useful early warning sign if you’re getting low on oxygen. T. Your blood pressure will be checked before and after the procedure with a blood pressure measuring machine (a tongue-twister called “sphygmomanometer”, which for obvious reasons is referred to as “sphyg”).