Whether we like it or not, there comes a time for many people when the trip to the dentist is about more than just a quick examination or even a filling. Sometimes, oral health conditions are such that major restorative work is required.

The good news, of course, is that at Rideau Dental Centre, we can help look after you. If you have wisdom teeth that need to come out or implants that need to go in, we can do much of that work here in our office.

Due to the fact that these are surgical procedures, you will need to be prepared for them. In the course of preparing you for the surgery, you will be administered an IV sedation to keep you relaxed during the procedure.

Some people refer to dentistry performed while a patient undergoes IV sedation as “sleep dentistry”. In reality, you will not be asleep during the procedure. It does not act as an anesthetic. You will be very much awake and able to respond to questions from your dentist.

However, IV sedation does put you into a state of very deep relaxation and it can produce some memory loss for the period of time it is effective. These factors have led some people to refer to it as “sleep dentistry”.

While it is not an anesthetic, we find that it is ideal to put our patients in just the right state for dental surgery. But one other factor to keep in mind is that IV sedation is not a pain killer. While it may dull your senses, you will still require freezing before we proceed with your surgery.

Some offices will offer IV sedation to patients who are not undergoing surgery, but are simply extremely nervous about going to the dentist. This is certainly a viable alternative for a very small number of patients. However, at Rideau Dental Centre, we use IV sedation strictly for some of our surgical treatments.

The reason is that most nervous patients can be treated with nitrous oxide, sometimes in conjunction with oral sedation, rather than an IV. We usually combine our use of nitrous oxide with another oral sedative that you can swallow. This will put nervous patients in a relaxed state and is usually sufficient to allow us to treat them successfully.

Both IV and oral sedation have their advantages and disadvantages. They are both easy to administer and we can easily control the amount we supply depending upon how much you need. They are fast acting so you will feel the effects very quickly. With IV sedation, you may remain in a deeply, relaxed state for a slightly longer period of time. That makes it ideal for surgical procedures.

It also makes it essential to have someone accompany you to our office on the day of your surgery as you will be unable to operate your own vehicle. In fact, for your own safety, we insist that you arrive with an escort and that the escort remain on site, in our waiting room, during your procedure. We are so concerned about your safety that we usually insist upon the same even for oral sedation.

The key is doing what is necessary to obtain the treatment you need! And if some form of oral surgery is required, we are happy to provide our patients with that service, complete with the benefits of IV sedation. Because providing you with the oral surgery you need is a healthy habit…and healthier habits lead to healthier lives.

Dr. Peter Georgopoulos

Dental Surgeon