Intravenous Sedation

IV (intravenous) sedation, also known as conscious sedation, is a form of anesthesia for patients who are nervous and/or want to be asleep for the surgery. During your consultation appointment, the doctor will evaluate your medical history to determine if you are a candidate for IV sedation in the office.

A patient who undergoes IV sedation first has an IV started in a vein in the arm. The medication is then administered through the IV line, and within one to two minutes, the patient will fall asleep (sedation). Once a person is sedated, the surgical procedure will commence.

During this period of sedation, the patient is continually monitored by our doctors and staff. Specialized monitoring equipment that is used includes a heart rhythm monitor, end-tidal carbon dioxide monitor, blood pressure cuff, and pulse oximetry.

After the surgery is complete, it usually takes about 30 minutes for a patient to wake up and be ready to go home. A responsible adult is required to escort the patient back home either by car or taxi. The patient will also have some numbness in the mouth for a few hours since local anesthetic (freezing) is administered while asleep.

How is IV Conscious Sedation Different From Other Forms of ANESTHESIA?

IV conscious sedation is different from oral sedation and general anesthesia. In oral conscious sedation, a person takes an oral pill and must commonly wait about 30 – 60 minutes for a feeling of relaxation to take affect. Although a patient can be given larger doses to become unaware of what is going on (sedation), it is difficult to dose to this level and there is a risk of over-sedation. In general anesthesia, the patient has a deep anesthetic which requires supervision by an anesthesiologist, and the patient has a breathing tube inserted to maintain proper breathing.  In contrast, patients undergoing intravenous sedation will maintain their own breathing.

Training and Safety

Dr. Chau is licensed for the provision of intravenous sedation in the office and has certification in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support). During his residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery, he received extensive hands-on training in the Department of Anesthesiology. This training included provision of IV sedation and general anesthesia, airway management and intubation techniques.

All staff have certification in CPR, and the clinical staff are either registered nurses or certified dental assistants that have certification in DAANCE (Dental Anesthesia Assistant National Certification Exam) and CDAAC (Canadian Dental Anesthesia Assistant Certification) to assist in IV sedation monitoring and recovery. In addition, Northshore Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery meets or exceeds the requirements by the College of Dental Surgeons of BC for provision of deep sedation in a non-hospital facility.