IV sedation for oral surgery.

IV Sedation for Oral Surgery

When it comes to oral surgery, the first thing many people think of is wisdom teeth.  Close on its heels comes the thought of being “put to sleep” for their removal.  You are correct in thinking that most people do opt for sedation when having their wisdom teeth removed.  Many people choose IV sedation for other types of oral surgery, periodontal surgery, and root canals as well.  In this week’s blog, we will explain IV sedation as we use it for oral surgery.

What is IV Sedation?

IV stands for IntraVenous, and IV sedation is that type of sedative medication administered to the patient intravenously.  IV sedation can involve a wide range of specific drugs, and some doctors choose to use a combination of multiple medications to produce the desired effect.

IV sedation is not the same thing as general anesthesia.  General anesthesia is what many know as being “put under”.  With general anesthesia, the patient is not conscious, not able to respond, and requires assistance with breathing.

IV sedation falls into the category of conscious sedation, so the patient is able to breathe on his or her own and respond to the doctor and team members.  IV sedation typically causes sleep, relaxation of the muscles, reduced awareness of all the sensations of the procedure, and temporary amnesia (so you don’t remember the procedure).

Is IV Sedation Safe?


IV sedation is actually one of the safest forms of sedation.  Because the medication enters directly into the bloodstream, your doctor can make alterations as needed to keep the patient at the right level of sedation throughout the procedure.

Many people think that oral sedation (taking a pill) is the safest option, but this is incorrect.  With oral sedation, the response to sedatives can vary widely due to the absorption and distribution of the drug throughout the body.  It has to pass through the GI tract and the liver before entering the bloodstream.  The actual amount of drug that gets into the bloodstream to effectively sedate each patient is different, so the results are often unpredictable.

Do I Have to Have IV Sedation for Oral Surgery?


IV sedation is not a requirement for undergoing your needed oral surgery treatment.  It is an option that many people choose in order to have a more comfortable and less memorable experience.

As the sedation is completely separate from the surgery in your mouth, you can undergo the treatment without sedation and with a local anesthetic to numb the surgical site.

Why Should I Consider Having IV Sedation for my Oral Surgery?

IV sedation typically makes the surgery easier for your surgeon.  And a simpler surgery patient makes the surgery go more smoothly and quickly.  In short, your surgeon is able to do better work on a sedated patient.  There are several reasons for this.

  • Sedated patients are able to lie still with very little movement and no fidgeting.  As you can imagine, having an immobile working field allows your surgeon to do his or her best work.  Working on a moving target can complicate things.
  • Oral surgery often requires the mouth to stay open for an extended period.  The relaxant effect of sedatives on the muscles enables the patient to remain open widely with less fatigue or muscle pain.
  • Lastly, let’s face it.  Oral surgery is not fun.  No one wants to have a root canal or osseous (periodontal) surgery.  Those who have to have it do not want to remember it.  IV sedation makes it an experience that you will forget.

More Questions about IV Sedation?

Call Empire Dental Specialty Group and schedule a consultation with our wonderful oral surgeons.  We can explain to you all of your sedation options and help you choose which one is best for your unique situation.