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What Drugs Are Used in IV Sedation?

October 27, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 2:02 pm
Close-up of patient’s hand prepared for IV sedation

If you must undergo an extensive or complex dental procedure, you may need some help to stay relaxed and comfortable throughout your appointment. Sedation dentistry can certainly help with that! There are multiple forms of sedation, with one of the most powerful being IV sedation. This blog post discusses some of the drugs that are commonly used for this relaxation technique.


Midazolam is classed as a benzodiazepine, which puts it in the same category as some well-known medications, such as Valium and Xanax. It is a powerful anti-anxiety agent, and it often causes a degree of memory loss. It has little effect on the lungs and heart, making it safe for use in both adults and children. It is also fast-acting. If your dentist uses it in your case, you should begin to feel its effects within 2 – 3 minutes of when it is administered.


Propofol is another fast-acting sedative. Once it is administered, you may begin to feel its effects in just 90 – 100 seconds. The human body tends to process it quickly, so it can be administered continuously throughout the course of a procedure, even if the procedure is very lengthy. Also, because humans tend to metabolize it so quickly, most patients recover from its side effects fairly soon after their procedure. Like midazolam, propofol is considered a safe choice for patients of virtually all ages.


Ketamine is derived from the psychedelic drug phencyclidine. It is very effective for pain relief, and it can lead to the loss of any memory of a procedure. It works quite quickly, usually kicking in within 60 seconds of being administered. A dose may last for just 5 – 10 minutes, so it must be given periodically throughout a procedure to ensure patient comfort. It may be given alongside other drugs to ensure maximum benefits. Ketamine is generally used only in patients over the age of 16; it has not been established as completely safe for younger patients.


Dexmedetomidine is fairly powerful. It produces an effect that is similar to normal human asleep, although patients are usually still able to communicate with their dental team. It is administered continuously during procedures. Since it may have an impact on a patient’s breathing and heart rate, it is usually given in quite small doses.

Which Is Right for You?

Your dentist will determine which sedative to use for you based on your health, the procedure you are undergoing, and other relevant factors. You can be sure that whichever drug is used, your dental team will carefully monitor you during your procedure so you can remain safe and relaxed throughout your appointment.

Meet the Practice

Dr. Gus Bal is a highly skilled dentist who is committed to creating a comfortable treatment experience for all patients. To that end, he offers multiple types of sedation, including nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, IV sedation, and deep sedation. If you would like to learn more about how Dr. Bal and our team can help you stay relaxed during your next procedure, contact us at 416-613-8390.

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