dentist explains iv vs oral sedation

Going to a dental office can be one of the most challenging things a person has to do. It is a good thing that clinics provide sedation dentistry services for patients that experience fear and anxiety concerning a visit to the dentist. In this article, you’ll learn more about IV vs. oral dental sedation and how each one can help you.

Dental fear is when you feel uncomfortable going to a dental office to the point of avoiding it routinely. This can result in serious problems because not seeing a dentist can result in your oral health suffering. Instead of simple dental treatments, you may end up needing more complicated procedures.

If you have dental anxiety, two of the methods your dentist can offer to help are oral sedation and intravenous (IV) sedation. Understanding the pros and cons of each of these sedation methods is crucial to determine which method suits you best.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation is a type of sedation dentistry in which the patient takes medicine through the mouth. It is ideal for patients with an upcoming extensive dental procedure. By taking the sedatives, the patient experiences physical and psychological relaxation.

The sedative drugs are in the form of pills that when taken, leave the patient in a drowsy or sleepy state. The patient is usually conscious and may still be communicative. There are a few oral sedatives used for dentistry, but the most common is lorazepam.


  • Cost – oral sedation is the cheapest way to help a patient reduce their fear and anxiety while in a dental setting.
  • It is useful for people who have anxiety but have to undergo simple dental procedures.


  • It takes a long time for the medicine to take effect, normally between 40 minutes to an hour.
  • Oral sedatives take time to wear off, so it is not easily reversible.

Intravenous Sedation

In the comparison between IV vs. oral dental sedation, intravenous is the much more convenient option. Some people do not react well with oral sedatives, while IV is highly effective. It also provides true conscious sedation, making it ideal for a wide range of dental procedures.

With this method, the medication is introduced to your body via injection. Dentists administer the drugs through an IV, which is a painless procedure leading to a semi-conscious state. In specialty dental services, sedation is often given to patients with severe anxiety.


  • It has more immediate and precise effects since the medicine enters the body directly.
  • It has a stronger effect than inhalation or oral sedation.
  • The effects of IV sedation are reversible since medications to reverse the influence of IV sedation exist.
  • It greatly helps people with severe anxiety, letting them sleep through their appointments while in a semi-conscious state.
  • IV sedation can be tailored specifically to the patient, which achieves better outcomes and fewer complications.
  • It is one of the safest forms of sedation dentistry.


  • This form of dental sedation is a lot more expensive compared to oral sedation.

IV vs. Oral Dental Sedation- Which Is Best for You?

Between IV vs. oral dental sedation, one can say that IV is the better option. It is safer, takes effect quickly, and reversible, while oral sedation is a lot harder to control. However, the one that suits you the best depends on several factors. The only way to know for sure is to talk to your dentist.
If you are anxious but need to visit a dentist soon, don’t hesitate to contact the nearest dental office. Get in touch with your dentist to learn more about IV vs. oral dental sedation to decide which option is better for you!

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