Dental Sedation

What is Dental Sedation

Sedation is the use of medicines to promote relaxation and relieve discomfort and anxiety. Dental sedation is the use of these medicines during a dental appointment. There are many types of sedation. They include:

  • Minimal sedation. This is the lightest form of sedation. It makes you relaxed. Under this type, you stay alert.
  • Moderate sedation. This type makes you sleepy and less alert than normal. Under this type, you are able to respond to instructions, touch, or both.
  • Deep sedation. This type uses an IV tube to give medicine that puts you into a sleepy state, in which you cannot be easily aroused or respond to instructions or touch.

Your dentist will select a type based on your overall health, your level of anxiety, and the type of procedure you will be having.

Tell a health care provider about:

  • Any allergies you have.
  • All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Any problems you or members of your family members have had with anesthetic medicines.
  • Any blood disorders you have.
  • Any surgeries you have had.
  • Any medical conditions you have.
  • Whether you are pregnant or may be pregnant.
  • Whether you use tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, or street drugs.

What are the risks?

Generally, this is a safe procedure. However, problems may occur, including:

  • Oversedation.
  • Trouble breathing. If this happens, a breathing tube may be used to help with breathing. It will be removed when you are awake and breathing on your own.
  • Heart trouble.
  • Lung trouble.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Infection.
  • Allergic reaction to medicines.

The chance of having these problems depends on the type of sedation that is used.

What happens before the procedure?

Staying hydrated

Follow instructions from your dentist about hydration, which may include:

  • Up to 2 hours before the procedure – you may continue to drink clear liquids, such as water, clear fruit juice, black coffee, and plain tea.

Eating and drinking restrictions

Follow instructions from your dentist about eating and drinking, which may include:

  • 8 hours before the procedure – stop eating heavy meals or foods such as meat, fried foods, or fatty foods.
  • 6 hours before the procedure – stop eating light meals or foods, such as toast or cereal.
  • 6 hours before the procedure – stop drinking milk or drinks that contain milk.
  • 2 hours before the procedure – stop drinking clear liquids.

General instructions

  • Ask your dentist about:
    • Changing or stopping your regular medicines. This is especially important if you are taking diabetes medicines or blood thinners.
    • Taking medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen. These medicines can thin your blood.Do nottake these medicines before your procedure if your dentist instructs you not to.
  • Plan to have someone take you home from the dentist’s office.

What happens during the procedure?

  • A mask may be placed over your nose. The mask will be used to deliver medicine.
  • You may be given an antibiotic medicine to take.
  • An IV tube may be put into one of your veins. It will be used to deliver medicine during the procedure.
  • The dental procedure will be performed. You will be monitored throughout the procedure.

The procedure may vary among dental care providers and clinics. It will also vary depending on the type of sedation you are given.

What happens after the procedure?

  • Your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and blood oxygen level will be monitored often until the medicines you were given have worn off.
  • You will feel sleepy.
  • You may have a headache or feel nauseous.
  • Do notdrive for 24 hours.

Care After Dental Sedation

These instructions provide you with information about caring for yourself after your procedure. Your dentist may also give you more specific instructions.

Your treatment has been planned according to current medical practices, but problems sometimes occur. Call your dentist if you have any problems or questions after your procedure.

What can I expect after the procedure?

After your procedure, it is common to:

  • Feel sleepy.
  • Feel clumsy and have poor balance.
  • Feel lightheaded or dizzy.
  • Feel sick to your stomach.
  • Vomit if you eat too soon.
  • Have a headache.
  • Have poor judgment.

The time that it takes to recover from sedation is different for everyone.

Follow these instructions at home:

For at least 24 hours after the procedure:

  • Do not:
    • Participate in activities where you could fall or get injured.
    • Drive.
    • Use heavy machinery.
    • Drink alcohol.
    • Take sleeping pills or medicines that cause drowsiness.
    • Make important decisions or sign legal documents.
    • Take care of children on your own.
  • Rest.

Eating and drinking

  • If you vomit:
    • Drink water, juice, or soup when you can drink without vomiting.
    • Make sure you have little or no nausea before eating solid foods.
  • Follow the diet that is recommended by your health care provider.

General instructions

  • Have a responsible adult stay with you until you are awake and alert.
  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.
  • If you smoke, do notsmoke without supervision.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important.

Contact a health care provider if:

  • You have pain that cannot be controlled.
  • You keep feeling nauseous.
  • You stay sleepy longer than your dentist told you to expect.
  • You have a headache that lasts for a long time (persistentheadache).
  • You have a fever.

Get help right away if:

  • Your pain gets worse.
  • You cannot swallow well.
  • You have trouble breathing.

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