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Fort St. John Dental Clinic Blog

What to Expect After Dental Sedation

What to Expect After Dental Sedation

Visiting the dentist can be overwhelming for many people for a number of reasons and sometimes a little help to relax may be necessary. Luckily, there are options available to help you. Our Fort St. John dentists discuss dental anxiety, options to help you relax and what to expect while recovering from dental sedation.

How can oral sedation help me?

The primary goal of oral conscious sedation is to help patients feel more relaxed and comfortable and relieve pain while undergoing dental services. This sedation technique is used for a variety of procedures, including teeth cleanings, root canals, and endoscopes. This medication may benefit patients who have a strong gag reflex, TMJ (temporomandibular joint) problems, fear of pain, or high sensitivity to touch.

Your dentist will prescribe the right amount of this mild to moderate sedation, as well as pre-and post-sedation instructions. An hour before your dental appointment, you must take an oral liquid or pill. You may need to take a dose the night before the procedure to alleviate anxiety-related insomnia.

While you should feel completely at ease throughout your dental visit, you will still be completely conscious. With sedation, you will be relaxed throughout your appointment while still being alert and responsive allowing you to communicate with the dental team throughout your visit.

What is IV sedation?

IV sedation refers to several medications that can be directly administered into the bloodstream through the vein to offer the deepest level of sedation short of general anesthesia. 

What are the possible side effects of dental sedation?

Due to drowsiness or grogginess caused by moderate sedation, you may fall asleep during your appointment. This will only be a light sleep and our dental team won't have any issues gently waking you once the service is complete. The effects of dental sedation vary depending on the person taking it, as they do with many medications. Following their appointment, most patients report only minor side effects. some of the side effects that you may experience following dental sedation are:

Oral Conscious Sedation

  • Low blood pressure
  • Mild headache 
  • Sluggish reflexes
  • Drowsiness 
  • Amnesia (only for the period you are sedated) 
  • Dry mouth

IV Sedation

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Watery eyes

Side Effects With Both Oral Conscious Sedation & IV Sedation

  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches

All of these symptoms should go away within 24 hours of taking an oral sedative. Remember that not all patients will experience side effects and that the severity will vary.

Is there a possibility of complications from oral conscious sedation or IV sedation?

Oral conscious sedation is a relatively safe procedure that has few side effects. You can rest easy knowing that your vital signs will be continuously monitored throughout your visit to ensure safety.

Your dentist will need to know about your medical history before prescribing an oral sedative, as certain health conditions may preclude you from using this option due to an increased risk of complications.

Obesity and obstructive sleep apnea may cause serious complications with dental sedation and so your dentist will discuss other options with you to help make your visit more comfortable.

While all medical procedures involve some risk, using IV sedation under the supervision of a trained professional is relatively risk-free. Oversedation is the most serious risk, which will be managed by the dental team through careful monitoring. Patients are not left alone while sedated.

You should also confirm that your dentist is qualified to provide sedation.

What can I expect throughout recovery from dental sedation?

Depending on the type and level of sedation administered by your dentist, you may require one to several hours to recover from the sedation. Your dental team will closely monitor you during this time to ensure that your vital signs stabilize as they return to normal.

Your dentist will inform you if you will require a ride to and from your appointment. We recommend that you take the day off, refrain from operating heavy machinery, and avoid physical activity while the sedative wears off. These side effects should only last up to 24 hours after which you will be able to return to your regular activities.

Would you like to learn more bout our available dental sedation options? Please contact our Fort St. John dentist to request a consultation.

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