Common Drugs Used for Intravenous Dental Sedation

While people appreciate the need for professional dental care, some cannot step into the dentist’s office. This is because of the considerable phobia and anxiety occasioned by the perceived pain long associated with dental procedures. Fortunately, dental care has now introduced several techniques that allow patients to relax, even in seemingly extensive and painful dental procedures. This is in dental sedation.

Sedation dentistry is at times called “sleep dentistry.” This is, however, a misnomer since there are various levels of sedation offered by a dentist in Vienna, Virginia. In minimal sedation, for instance, you will be awake but feel no pain. In moderate sedation, you might slur but have no recollection of the procedure. In deep sedation, patients are somewhat on the edge of consciousness and can be awakened, but in general anesthesia, you will be completely unconscious. Intravenous sedation (IVS) is one of the commonly used sedation methods in dental care. The drugs used have a rapid onset and can be titrated. Their effects can be monitored easily, and you will have a speedy recovery from their effects. Here are the types of drugs used in IVS.



This is a benzodiazepine derivative. It will decrease your anxiety with minimal effect on your cardiovascular and respiratory systems. The primary characteristic of midazolam is its anterograde amnesic property. This means that you will not have a recollection of your treatment. Its action onset is about two to three minutes, and its duration of action is 60 to 120 minutes. The drug is eliminated from your body within three hours of its administration.



This is the commonest drug used for dental IVS. The drug contains glycerol, egg lecithin, and soybean oil that might cause pain during its injection. You might thus receive a lidocaine injection beforehand to mitigate this. The doctor might also mix propofol with lidocaine, a local anesthetic drug. Its onset of action is two to eight minutes after its administration, and it will be eliminated within four to seven hours of its administration.



This drug is derived from phencyclidine. Sedation using ketamine is characterized by amnesia, analgesia, spontaneous respiration, cardiopulmonary stability, and retention of your protective airway reflexes. The onset of ketamine is approximately a minute after its administration, and it is eliminated within two to three hours. The duration of ketamine’s effect is often five to 10 minutes, though this largely depends on its dosage. It is generally used for short dental procedures.




This drug will cause sedation and anxiolysis through its action on the receptors in your central nervous system. Dexmedetomidine will induce a sleep pattern largely similar to physiological sleep and you can easily arouse even by verbal stimulation. It is eliminated within two to three hours of administration.

For those who dread needles, the dentist might use nitrous oxide before the insertion of an IV line to reduce your anxiety. Though IVS using the drugs mentioned above are targeted toward patients with a phobia and anxiety of dental procedures, it can also be used in other patients. These include those with a low pain threshold, sensitive teeth, and a sensitive gag reflex. Dentists complete various accreditation programs before they are cleared to offer IVS so that you can rest assured of their competency.

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