Some dental procedures, such as complex oral surgeries, can be much more painful or stressful than others. For this reason, some dentists (though not all) may offer intravenous sedation. This type of sedation is applied directly to the bloodstream via needle inserted into a vein.


What is Intravenous (IV) Sedation?

If a patient is extremely nervous about a certain procedure, intravenous (IV) sedation can serve as a safe and effective sedation method. A sedative is injected directly into a patient’s vein, causing feelings of relaxation and comfort without losing consciousness.


Why would I need IV sedation?

It is a great method for helping you to relax if you are anxious about dental treatment, and if other sedation methods such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas) aren’t suitable for you. Intravenous sedation is also an ideal sedation method if you are having a dental procedure which may cause distress or discomfort.

The main effects of IV sedation are:


  • You will experience reduced anxiety and increased feelings of relaxation
  • You will feel sleepy
  • You will be unaware of your procedure
  • You will likely experience partial or total loss of memory of the procedure


What are the benefits of IV sedation?

Similarly to nitrous oxide, while you are under IV sedation, you will experience deep relaxation but will remain conscious. You can understand and respond to requests from your dentist, but will be unaware of the procedure. This makes this form of sedation ideal if you wish to avoid the vibration and noise of your dentist’s tools during the procedure.


What are the risks?

Intravenous sedation is completely safe when administered by a specially trained dentist.


Usually, IV sedation as a form of pain relief is not necessary for most dental procedures, as a less invasive alternative such as nitrous oxide is often available. However, your dentist will discuss the most suitable forms of sedation or pain control for you before beginning any procedures.