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My IV Sedation Success Story



Jun 26, 2013
United States
I finally got IV Sedation for two large fillings done, on Thursday the 26th of September. It went really well I thought, although a few things could have been better but I'll explain that at the end.

The fillings were for a broken amalgam and a cavity & old amalgam on my bottom left two molars. I had neglected to get the broken filling and cavity taken care of since the filling first broke on my birthday in spring of 2019. So yes...I was dealing with this anxiety for over two years! However it came and went, and the night before the IV sedation appointment was the worst. My heart was racing and I didn't sleep at all!

My support person was there with me. Both he and someone in my family thought I'd chicken out at the last minute and not go through with it...that was my thought as soon as they put the IV in my hand but they were amazing with distracting me, and so soon all thoughts of "escape" were forgotten. ?

They gave me Fentanyl and Versed. I only know this since I had to sign a waiver about it, but not once did they mention that it could give a bad reaction- just that you needed to consent to and cooperate with treatment. (Before this I had convinced myself I was going to die due to oversedation, or some bad reaction to the medication.)

I was super nervous, and kept asking if anyone had died at their office, and made sure they were going to monitor my heart and oxygen (which they did of course)! Of course nobody ever died there. I knew it was silly of me but I had to ask anyway. The nurse said she would treat me like her sister. I asked, or your own daughter? She then said she had no daughters but instead had one or more sons who were in the military. I felt my nerves rising again and told her to tell me more, so she told me more and the dentist gave me the oxygen in a nasal tube and also the IV sedation (which was done on the top of my right hand) and I finally started to relax. I was expecting the IV to be in my arm, not my hand, but it didn't really hurt at all.

I did think the oxygen tubes felt a bit weird, and for a while I felt a bit claustrophobic. Yet, again, these feelings went away when they gave me the drugs and I felt calm.

The rest is sort of a blur, although I do distinctly remember a lot more than I ever did when I got my wisdom teeth removed with IV sedation. (When I got that surgery done, I remember nothing except waking up slightly at the end to see the doctors putting some stitches in, and then eventually sitting up in the chair and it was like no time had passed.) So it was definitely a lot lighter form of sedation.

The first thing I remember is them putting a blindfold on my eyes, to try to calm me, but that made me nervous so I took it off. Then I remember he gave me Carbocaine but without epinephrine so my heart wouldn't race, at least I'm pretty sure that's what he said. Normally I'd be scared to death of the shot, but it happened so fast I didn't even really know what was going on, lol.

Then a few moments later he began drilling. I remember a high pitched drill, as well as a lower pitched one. I know I was still concerned about swallowing and water going down my throat. (I have a fear of choking.) I was still nervous, but not enough to do a whole lot, but the dentist was kind enough to give me frequent breaks. I lost count of how many, but it was definitely after he did some drilling each time. The placement of the filling itself and the curing didn't bother me so much.

I also remember getting more nervous towards the end of the procedure, at least for the very last part of the drilling. My support person told me he was getting concerned since it was taking them a lot longer than 30 or 45 minutes. To me this entire thing felt like 5 or 10 minutes at the most! However again, it wasn't unbearable and I'd definitely do it again!

I do feel bad for being rather uncooperative with the dentist...well...in as much as I needed frequent breaks. He said I wasn't the worst patient though. (I don't remember if he used the term "uncooperative" exactly maybe it was just "difficult"?) His worst patient had punched him in the face. Thank goodness I wasn't like that!

So I'm glad that I got it done, but I feel bad for needing so many breaks and still being afraid. I figured I'd have no fear whatsoever, but that wasn't the case. I do remember offering to buy him cookies and he said no. :ROFLMAO: Yeah I was a bit loopy but I genuinely felt bad haha.

When I got up, I felt pretty dizzy, and the nurse helped me walk along with my support person. I remember someone else describing it as a baby giraffe learning to walk- a very apt description!

The numbness lasted a lot more than the dizziness / tiredness. I did take a nap afterwards, but was surprisingly awake compared to when I got my wisdom teeth out. During that I just wanted to sleep the whole day- and did.

A few other things I remember:

*The dentist said there are different "levels" of IV sedation. With someone who has a lot of anxiety a less-deep level is preferred since the next step after that they can become simultaneously unaware *and* uncooperative. The third level beyond that would be where they can't really obey commands anymore.

*I remember I kept thinking "wow this is going by so fast..."

*I kept asking about my oxygen and blood pressure. It was all fine although at the beginning my BP was 156/ 87! Then it went down to normal.

*I was extremely hungry and thirsty after fasting for over 10 hours, so I had a soda to drink right away so I didn't feel so woozy, and that helped a lot.

Overall everyone was really kind, even though the dentist was a bit stern at times, he was never rude. It was a huge contrast to the traumatic experiences of my childhood.

Now I have to deal with a lot of cold sensitivity on my larger of the two fillings. This one didn't have the cavity but it had a giant amalgam filling in it. Another dentist thought maybe it needed a crown, but this one disagreed with that. So we'll see...

Now my anxiety is just focused on this cold-sensitive tooth.

For what could have been better: I wish I wasn't as uncooperative as I was, and I also wish that my tooth will get better from the cold sensitivity...