IV Sedation vs. General Anesthesia


When you visit the dentist, you may be surprised to learn how many different sedation options are available to you. Anxiety or even fear when it comes to the dentist is all too common, so many offices offer a variety of relaxing sedation techniques to help their patients. We compare two types of sedation: IV sedation and general anesthesia.

IV Sedation

IV sedation stands for intravenous sedation. The sedative medicine is administered through a patient’s vein, and it’s fast-acting because it goes right into the bloodstream. Some patients remain awake while others fall into a light sleep, but all patients continue to breathe on their own. IV sedation is considered to be a moderate form of sedation, and it’s sometimes referred to as twilight sedation since you feel like you’re in a dream-like state of relaxation but you remain conscious.

Many patients who have undergone IV sedation have little to no memory of their procedure. They may feel a little groggy afterwards, so it’s important to have a friend or family member there to drive them home after the appointment.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is considered the deepest sedation technique. It can be administered either through mask inhalation or through an IV. While under general anesthesia, patients are unaware of stimulation and their surroundings and will be unable to respond. They will also require breathing assistance. This option is commonly used for longer, more invasive or complex procedures, and it is often performed in a hospital setting.

With both IV sedation and general anesthesia, patients are monitored by a professional to ensure proper and safe administration.

When to Consider Sedation at the Dentist

Here are some reasons why someone might consider getting sedation at the dentist:

  • You are anxious, nervous, or afraid of dental treatment.
  • You feel uncomfortable keeping your mouth open for an extended period of time.
  • You have a sensitive gag reflex.
  • You need a lot of dental work done.

If you’d like to learn more about your sedation options, please feel free to contact our office!

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