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About Dental Sedation

Sedation is used in dentistry to help anxious patients relax during their dental treatments. Sedated patients generally remain awake, with medication used just to calm and soothe rather than render them unconscious. The exception to this is for serious procedures which require the patient to be put under general anesthesia.

Dental Sedation FAQs

  • Is dental sedation safe?

    Yes, when performed by a dentist who is licensed and certified to provide dental sedation, it is a safe, effective method of managing anxiety and stress during dental treatments. Not all dentists can offer this service and some patients such as those with pre-existing heart conditions may not be eligible, so it is best to ask your dentist about what services they can provide and if dental sedation is right for you.

  • Can I drive myself home after dental sedation?

    It is not recommended that patients operate any heavy machinery after having been sedated. If you're going to be sedated as part of a dental procedure, arrange for a family member or friend to drop you off and pick you up from your appointment in order to avoid having to drive home while potentially still under the influence of the sedative(s).

  • How long do the effects of dental sedation last?

    The duration of your sedation will vary based on the method of its administration. Nitrous, which is often referred to as laughing gas, is inhaled through a mask and takes effect after only a minute or two, but begins to wear off as soon as the mask is removed. The effects of local anesthetic, mostly numbness, typically last 4-6 hours.  A full recovery from an anesthetic administered via IV tends to take around 6 hours.

    Speak with your dentist about their sedation options, they will be able to give their professional opinion on how long the effects should last.

  • How will I feel after the sedation wears off?

    This question is difficult to provide a general answer for. Every case is different, and your expectations ought to reflect your personal circumstances. Ask your dentist for their professional opinion on what you should expect in terms of pain and recovery following your procedure.

  • Will I still feel pain if I am sedated?

    Patients who receive oral or inhaled sedation may still experience mild pain and discomfort. This pain is typically mild and tolerable. Patients often report feeling pressure on the area of their mouth being operated on, but not having a pain response alongside that pressure. Pain often returns when the sedative wears off and healing begins, so your dentist may prescribe pain medication to help you during your recovery. 

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