FAQs Regarding IV Sedation / Anesthesia for Oral Surgery

Categories: Blog

Here in our office we perform a variety of treatments including dental implants, facial reconstruction and teeth removal.  If you have recently been diagnosed with a condition that requires any of these types of treatment, you will likely be required to go under IV sedation / anesthesia.   For some people, the idea of anesthesia can induce a bit of anxiety.  We completely understand what you are feeling and believe that proper education can help put your fears at ease.  The following are some of the most common questions our patients have about anesthesia.  But in general the majority of the patients have a more pleasant dental experience when they sedated and sometime ask us if we can also do their filling and cleaning under sedation!

What is exactly is IV sedation / anesthesia?

IV sedation / anesthesia is commonly referred to as “twilight sleep”, a medically-induced state of relaxation, without effecting your vital organs such as the heart and lungs.  This is different than “General Anesthesia”, which is most commonly confused with IV sedation / anesthesia.   With general anesthesia that is typically administered in a hospital setting, a patient’s muscles are paralyzed, necessitating the need for a machine to breath for you.  We do not perform general anesthesia for minor surgical procedures in our offices. 


With the IV access we are able to provide the patients with a variety of medications that are extremely beneficial for the patient after surgery, i.e. anti-nausea, anti-swelling, long-term pain medication and antibiotics.   When compared to procedures performed just under local anesthesia, patients that are typically sedated will have less pain, less swelling and other side-effects from the surgery.  

Is IV sedation / anesthesia safe?

Due to many advances over the past 25 years, the risks of anesthesia are very low.  Certain types of illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity, can increase your anesthesia risks.  Still, with effective monitoring even the very sick patients are routinely sedated for needed procedures.  Adverse events are very, very rare.  The specific risks of anesthesia can vary with each particular procedure and the health of the patient.  This is why we require a pre-operative consultation with  us to make sure all of your question have been answered and most importantly for us to assess you risk and whether we need to contact  you physician for medical clearance prior to any surgery.  

What should I know before I come in?

Before any IV sedation / anesthesia there are a few requirements:

  • Have a responsible adult accompany you to drive you home and to have someone there for us to review the post-operative instructions.
  • Do not eating or drinking anything before 6 hours of surgery.  In some special circumstances we may change this requirement – as discussed during your pre-op consultation.
  • Do not drive or operate machinery for 24 hours after surgery.
  • Wear loose clothing in order to allow us to place the monitoring equipment.  
  • Do not wear excessive makeup, lipstick, or nail polish on day of surgery.
  • Make sure to notify your oral surgeon of any illness, cold, sore throat, or upset stomach BEFORE and after the surgery.

Are there side effects I should be aware of?

There are a few different side effects of any type of anesthesia. The most common are nausea (which we preventatively treat with anti-nausea), drowsiness, and loss of short-term memory about the procedure, as preferred by most patients.  However, effects may vary greatly with each patient — it all depends on how your body reacts to it.  It’s a good idea to inform us of  any prior experience(s) with any anesthesia to get an idea of to know what t expect during your next oral procedure.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office with any remaining questions you have. We are happy to answer them!