Dentists often recommend dental sedation for patients that suffer from anxiety or have difficulty undergoing oral surgery and other dental work. Here, our Courtenay dentists talk about the different types of dental sedation and how long they take to wear off.
The Types of Dental Sedation
Nitrous oxide, often referred to as laughing gas, is one of the most popular kinds of dental sedation. Nitrous oxide generally takes several minutes to take effect but only continues to be effective when it is continuously inhaled.
Once the dental technician stops the gas flow, it usually takes only a few minutes for the patient to recover to a reasonable degree. Afterward, the patient may feel a bit disoriented but should regain their pre-sedated mental capabilities quickly.
In terms of dental sedation in pill form, patients can take the medication the night before the scheduled procedure. You can also take the sedation several hours before the scheduled dentist appointment. When the oral sedation starts to take effect, patients feel disoriented and drowsy. Oral sedation can help suppress the gag reflex, pain responses, anxiety, and more.
However, these dental sedation methods usually last anywhere from two to eight hours after the procedure. The type of drug you take will determine how long it will take for the sedation to wear off. Oral sedation may cause you to experience an amnesic effect. In fact, you may not remember ever visiting the dentist’s office.
Conscious sedation helps reduce pain, discomfort, and anxiety during certain dental procedures. This form of sedation works together with drugs and, sometimes, anesthesia to help patients feel relaxed. In dentistry, conscious sedation is ideal for people who often feel panicked and anxious during complex dental procedures. Such procedures include routine cleanings, root canals, and fillings.
Medical professionals often refer to this form of dental sedation as analgesia and procedural sedation. In the past, people called it happy air, sleep dentistry, laughing gas, happy gas, and twilight sleep.
How Long Your Dental Sedation May Last
Dental sedation is ideal for patients that are undergoing lengthy procedures that require them to sit still for several hours at a time. It can also be used for children because they often can't sit still during long-lasting procedures.
You should avoid eating and drinking anything for at least six hours before sedation and during sedation. It is important for your stomach to be empty to prevent regurgitated food from causing an obstruction in the airways while you are under.
After the procedure, you will remain in the cabinet for a while as you recover. Usually, dental sedation will start wearing off after half an hour or so. You may still feel lightheaded and drowsy for a few hours afterward. Therefore, you should have someone to keep you company and transport you home safely.