Oral Sedation vs. IV sedation

What is the difference between oral and IV sedation?


An ABSOLUTE ton!! While I do all forms of sedation in my dental practice, I would much prefer IV sedation over oral sedation. Before I discuss the differences, I will discuss the similarities:

1. Both will put the patient in a more relaxed state with possible "sleepiness"
2. Both will produce some amnesia so that the patient has very little recollection of what happened.
3. Both will dull a patient's perception of noisy drills, painful injections, and having your mouth open for a long time.

So oral sedation can work roughly the same as IV sedation except:
1. It takes much longer to produce sedation through oral (1 hour to 2 hours) versus
IV sedation (3 min to 10 min).
2. Oral sedation can last much longer than needed where IV sedation can end as
quickly as the procedure is done so the patient is not incapacitated for the
duration of the day.
3. It is much easier to treat an emergency or reverse a sedation with an IV vs oral
sedation. In oral sedation, each person will metabolize oral medications
differently, so it is difficult to predict what it will take to make the patient
comfortable. Also, the patient can be oversedated with oral sedation and much
more difficult to reverse since an IV is not started.

These are significant differences between oral and IV sedation. While oral is an acceptable way to provide relaxation to the patient, IV sedation is more efficient, does not last as long, and is ultimately more safer than other forms of sedation. This is also why the majority of specialists such as oral surgeons use IV sedation as a preferred method of sedation!!

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