Young woman in hospital recovery room after surgery

Some people are so frightened of the dentist that they avoid dental treatment altogether but today’s dentists are sympathetic and in recognising that some patients experience real anxiety. Modern dentistry is very customer focused and as such, a range of sedation and relaxation techniques have been developed to help anxious patients overcome their fears.

Joanna is the sedation dentist at Oriel Villas Dental Surgery and is happy to help anyone overcome their fears of dentistry.

Q. What is sedation?

An effective way to treat the most nervous of patients is via intravenous sedation (injection). The drugs have a relaxing effect, but the patient is still awake but is unaware of what is happening and will have no painful memories of the procedure. This is a good way of relaxing someone who has anxiety as the exact amount of sedative agent is given in a safe way. Weight, age and medical condition must be assessed before suitability for this kind of sedation is determined but this would all be discussed during the consultation with the dentist. Usually the patient would need to be referred to a specialist clinic for this treatment.

Q. How will IV sedation in the surgery affect me?

Whilst IV sedation will make you drowsy, you will remain awake enough to communicate and cooperate with the dental team. The effects of the sedative will take time to wear off and you won’t be able to drink alcohol, drive or work machinery during this time so it is important that someone can help you home after  treatment and keep a careful eye on you for the rest of the day.

Q. Will I ever feel differently about visiting the dentist?

It is our aim to get your confidence back in coming to see us. As you get to know and trust your dentist, hygienist and other members of the dental team at your practice, your fears will dampen. In time you will come to see your regular visit to the dentist as just another part of your normal life. The aim of the sedation team is for you to gain enough confidence to come and see us without relying on this method for getting any treatment done.


Sedation for minor oral surgery Intravenous sedation is used to help relax you during procedures.

  •     The sedative is given by injection into a vein (intravenous) in your arm or the back of your hand
  •     You will remain conscious at all times and able to talk and respond to instructions
  •     You will also receive local anaesthetic (an injection into your gums) so that the treatment can be carried out
  •     Afterwards you will probably have little or no memory of the procedure

If you are having intravenous sedation there are some rules that you must follow for your safety:

  •     A responsible adult (friend or relative) must stay in the building during your treatment and drive you home
  •     afterwards; if not, you cannot have sedation
  •     Remember, to tell your dentist before your treatment of any changes in your medical history, your
  •     medication and if you have asthma or any allergies on the day of your treatment
  •     You can have a light meal up to 2 hours before your treatment if you wish
  •     You can drink fluids and take any medicines as normal unless you have been instructed otherwise
  •     Do not drink any alcohol
  •     Treatment and recovery time is usually 1-2 hours

After your treatment under sedation:

  •     A responsible adult must drive you home and stay with you for at least 6 hours following the treatment.
  •     You must not travel home by public transport such as a bus
  •     You should stay at home resting quietly for about 24 hours
  •     Do not drive a car, drink alcohol, use machinery (such as a kettle or a bike), do any work or make important
  •     decisions for 24 hours, to allow the effects of the sedation to wear off
  •     Do not look after any minors
  •     You can eat and drink normally as soon as you feel like it
  •     If you have any pain then do not hesitate to take the painkillers as directed