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Side Effects of Dental Sedation

Dental sedation can provide many benefits for anxious patients, and you may be wondering if it is right for you. In today's post, our Courtenay dentists provide information on the potential side effects of dental sedation to help you make an informed decision.

Possible Side Effects of Dental Sedation


It is normal to feel sick or nauseated after sedation. It is recommended that you relax and avoid heavy foods or alcohol while recovering from sedation. Your body needs time to come back online, so to speak, and feelings of slowness or sickliness should fade reasonably quickly.


Perhaps the most common side-effect of dental sedation, drowsiness is often reported by patients during their recovery. It is best practice to have someone else take you home after a procedure, and get lots of rest to recover to your full alertness. If you have to be up and about, try not to do so alone until you've had a chance to completely recover from the sedation.

Slow Reflexes

Oftentimes it takes time for your reflexes to return to their full alertness after waking up from dental sedation. Our Courtenay dentists recommend expecting it to be 24 hours before your reflexes "catch up" to their pre-sedation levels.


The contraction of facial and scalp muscles that occurs as a result of sedation can cause headaches. These should stop not long into your recovery and are not a cause for concern – if you begin experiencing frequent or highly painful headaches, you should seek consultation with your doctor.

Gaps in Memory of the Procedure

Even mild forms of sedation, like nitrous oxide, can put patients into a dream-like state. Likely, you will not have clear memories of dental procedures performed while under the effects of a sedative. This type of memory loss is localized to events that occurred while you were under the effects of the sedative and is not a cause for concern. We recommend you try not to engage in activities requiring heavy concentration or consequential decision-making while recovering from being sedated.

Low Blood Pressure

Being sedated can lead to temporarily lowered blood pressure, which can explain some of the other reported side effects including headaches, drowsiness, and nausea. This is generally temporary and not a cause for concern, however, persistent low blood pressure can cause serious health complications – so if you are experiencing continuous symptoms more than 24 hours after having been sedated, please contact your doctor for their analysis and guidance.


Some patients report feeling "heavy" or "sluggish" after waking up from dental sedation. This is very, very normal and another reason why it is advised that you do not drive home after having been sedated. It is not legal to drive while under the effects of a sedative, and so you must attend the appointment alongside someone who can take you home at its conclusion.

Do you have questions about dental sedation and its various side effects? Do you need help determining if dental sedation is right for you? Contact Driftwood Dental today to make an appointment with one of our Courtenay dentists or to have your questions answered by a member of our team.

Visit Driftwood Dental for a friendly & relaxed dental experience!

(250) 338-5381