How Long Does Dental Sedation Last?

How Long Does Dental Sedation Last?

Jan 01, 2023

Dental anxiety prevents many people from seeking dental care. Unfortunately, avoiding dental care increases your risk of serious oral problems and the need for more invasive dental treatments. Fortunately, you can avoid all these issues through sedation dentistry. Keep reading to learn more about dental sedation, forms of sedation, and how long the sedation lasts.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry uses medication to calm or prevent pain during dental procedures. It’s an excellent option for patients with severe anxiety or fear of dental appointments. The sedation calms your nerves, making you relaxed and comfortable. If you’re concerned about the safety of sedation dentistry, there’s nothing to worry about, as sedation dentistry is completely safe if administered by a qualified dentist.

Forms of Dental Sedation

There are three forms of dental sedation, which include:

  • Nitrous oxide

Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a mild sedation administered through a mask placed over the mouth and nose. The gas is absorbed in the lungs quickly, resulting in a floaty, calm, and tingly effect. While you’ll still be conscious and notice what’s happening around you, you’ll be relaxed and not feel any pain throughout the procedure. Nitrous oxide also eliminates a strong gag reflex.

Once the procedure is complete, the dentist will remove the mask, and the sedation effects will reverse quickly. The dentist might administer pure oxygen through a mask to remove the effects much faster. On average, nitrous oxide sedation effects should fade away within 15 minutes of removing the mask. Therefore, you can resume your normal activities after the procedure. You also won’t need someone to drive you home.

  • Oral sedation

Oral sedation gives a deeper sedation effect than nitrous oxide. The sedation is administered through a pill taken orally about an hour before the dental procedure. The sedation will make you feel relaxed and drowsy throughout the procedure. While you may fall asleep, the doctor can easily awaken you.

Unlike nitrous oxide, whose effects fade within minutes, the effects of oral sedation can last for 2 – 8 hours. That said, driving home or resuming work immediately after the procedure is unsafe. To be safe, you should have someone take you home and rest for the rest of the day.

  • I.V sedation

IV sedation is the deepest form of sedation. The sedation is administered through the vein into the bloodstream. The level of sedation is adjusted and monitored throughout the procedure. Dentists require approval to offer this sedation. IV sedation works very quickly. Most people fall asleep within 15 – 30 minutes.

While you won’t be entirely unconscious, you are less aware of your surroundings. After the procedure, our team will take you to a recovery room since you may still be a little sleepy. You’ll fully recover within eight hours. Therefore, having someone drive you home and watch for the rest of the day is essential.

While these forms of sedation are safe when used correctly, some people can experience minor side effects. Dental sedation can cause mild nausea, irritability, vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, and sleepiness, especially in children. You may observe a little soreness or swelling at the point of IV sedation. Notify your dentist if you or your child experience severe side effects after sedation.

Who Needs Sedation Dentistry?

In most cases, dental sedation isn’t always necessary. Since children rarely need invasive dental treatments, dentists commonly use nitrous oxide to make them relaxed and pain-free during dental appointments. Common instances when children need sedation include routine dental exams and cleanings, orthodontic treatments, tooth extraction, and dental filling.

Sedation can also be used in adults with dental phobia or undergoing lengthy and invasive treatments like tooth extraction, dental fillings, dental implants, deep cleaning, and dental crowns. Our dentist in Del Mar, CA, can advise whether you or your child need sedation and which is right for you.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Do you need more information about sedation dentistry? Contact Sunny Smile Kids to speak with our sedation dentist near you.