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What should I expect after my dental sedation appointment?

What happens after your dental sedation appointment? Our Victoria dentists share what you should know and how you might feel.

What is Oral Conscious Sedation?

The primary purpose of oral conscious sedation is to reduce pain and discomfort and put you at ease during your dental procedure. This form of sedation is used for many procedures from teeth cleanings to root canals and endoscopes. Patients who have a gag reflex, fear of pain, high sensitivity to touch, or issues with their temporomandibular joint (TMJ) may receive this medication to make the procedure easier.

Oral sedation should be mild to moderate in intensity, depending on the dose prescribed by your dentist. Typically, about an hour before your dental appointment, you'll take a pill or liquid. To alleviate anxiety-related insomnia, you may need to take a dose the night before the procedure. You should be in a relaxed state of consciousness during the treatment but will remain awake and responsive, and you will feel no pain.

Are there side effects of sedation dentistry?

The pill may cause drowsiness, and moderate sedation may cause you to fall asleep during the procedure. Having said that, you can usually be roused by a gentle shake. As is the case with many medications, the effects of sedation vary from person to person. Typically, patients experience only a few mild side effects. Following your appointment, you may experience the following:

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

Within 24 hours of sedation, all of these symptoms should subside as the medication leaves your system. Bear in mind that not all patients will experience adverse events, and the severity of events will vary.

Are there potential complications from oral conscious sedation? 

Oral conscious sedation is relatively safe, and complications are uncommon with this method of sedation. Your vital signs will be continuously monitored throughout your sedation. Having said that, it is critical to inform your dentist about your medical history before receiving an oral sedative prescription. Due to the increased risk of complications, certain health conditions may preclude this option.

If you are obese or have obstructive sleep apnea, you and your dentist may need to explore other options, as both of these health conditions can pose complications that make oral conscious sedation an unacceptable risk.

In addition, confirm your dentist's qualifications. At InHarmony Dental Care, our team is trained to administer oral conscious sedation safely. 

What can I expect from the recovery process?

Recovery from sedation can take up to an hour, depending on the dosage administered. Throughout this time, your dentist and our team will closely monitor your vital signs to ensure they remain stable as they return to normal.

Recovery time may be several hours, depending on the level of sedation. Your dentist will inform you if you will require transportation home following your appointment. We recommend scheduling time off in advance, having a friend or family member drive you to and from your appointment, and abstaining from physical activity or operating heavy equipment while the sedative is still in your system.

Keep in mind that some patients feel nauseated, groggy, sleepy or sluggish through the rest of the day as the sedative wears off. However, this should vanish within 24 hours. 

Do you have more questions about oral conscious sedation? Contact your Victoria dentist at InHarmony Dental Care to schedule a consultation.

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