Sedation is useful in patients who are so anxious that they cannot have treatment under local anesthetic alone. It also reduces the reflex of gagging. We would like to assure you that the team at Carntyne will be very understanding of your feelings and anxieties. You can rest assure that we will listen very carefully to you and tailor your treatment so that it can be as stress and discomfort free as possible. A full information sheet is attached in the FAQ section of the do’s and do not’s of sedation.

How it works

“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. It makes the entry into the vein, then is slid out leaving the soft plastic tube in place. The drugs are put in through that tube (which is correctly referred to as an “indwelling catheter”, but more commonly known by the tradename of Venflon). 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 too low on oxygen, although if your dentist and the nurses are paying attention they should see it way before the machine does. Blood pressure before and after the procedure should be checked with a blood pressure measuring machine (a tongue-twister called “sphygmomanometer”, which for obvious reasons is referred to as “sphyg”).

Are there side effects?

  • Anterograde amnesia. Due to the amnesic effects of the medications, patients have little or no recollection of the treatment.
  • Less post-operative soreness. When patients are afraid, their threshold for pain is much lower. Fear and anxiety trigger the release of certain chemicals in the brain, like adrenaline, which put a patient’s “fight or flight” instincts on high alert. They anticipate that something is going to hurt and so they tense their muscles, even if it is subconsciously, leading to additional soreness post-treatment. With sedation, a patient’s apprehension and hypersensitivity to pain is virtually eliminated, thus reducing the likelihood and severity of post-operative discomfort.
  • Dry mouth: Sedative medications will decrease salivary flow and allow the dentist to perform treatment in a dryer environment.
  • Nausea: A small percentage of patients will experience nausea.

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