IV sedation program offers care to patients and training to dentists

Dentistry News Staff - 20 January 2015

Just over 140 patients have received free dental care thanks to the School of Dentistry's IV Conscious Sedation program-a specialized training program offered to dentists across the country.

The IV Conscious Sedation program - the only program of its type in Canada - provides comprehensive sedation and clinical training to dentists as part of the School's Continuing Dental Education (CDE) courses. Therefore, rather than the typical "needle in the mouth freezing," dentists are able to offer their patients an alternative method to dental treatment such as having a tooth extracted or a filling.

IV conscious sedation is most commonly administered to patients who have a fear of needles or even the dental procedure itself and gives patients like Parwana Niazie, the chance to get their wisdom teeth pulled with reduced anxiety.

"The clinic staff pays very close attention to you, and they take good care of you before and after the procedure. I would recommend this program to everyone," says Niazie, who first heard about the program from her sister who studied dental hygiene at the School. "The service is very personalized and thorough. Better than any clinic I've been to."

For James Yacychyn, director of the CDE program, it's the first-hand impact he sees on patients that makes offering the program worthwhile.

"We've had patients whose teeth are so bad they are afraid to smile. The transformation from the dental work leaves them speechless and sometimes in tears," he said. "We're not just simply training dentists to administer IV sedation, but by offering charitable-care we are directly impacting someone's life. For most people it's transformative because they are able to access a level of care they may not otherwise be able to."

How the process works

The next IV Dental Sedation Program will run from February 18 to 22, 2015. This program is ideal for healthy adult patients without any medical conditions, no known allergies, not pregnant, and who aren't on any medication, and tend to be somewhat anxious of dental treatment.

Care is provided by licensed dentists who are participating in this program for additional training and to demonstrate clinical competency and proficiency in these sedation techniques. These participants have all passed pre-requisite program material and have practiced for a number of years.

Dental Care will be provided free of charge and will only be as extensive as conditions permit. Patient's response to sedation varies and therefore the amount of work to be completed is not ensured. Care will typically be restricted to simple fillings, extractions, and cleanings. Some patients may be able to come on multiple appointments to complete as much treatment as possible.

Individuals interested in these clinics can contact the CDE unit at dentce@ualberta.ca and indicate they are interested in becoming an IV Sedation patient. They will be contacted to be scheduled for a pre-screening appointment and then once determined to be an eligible candidate, they will be enrolled in the program.