If you have chosen to utilize sedation dentistry to address your anxiety or discomfort during dental treatment, you need to make preparations beforehand to be certain you are safe following your dental visit. Some sedation options leave you unable to drive or make decisions clearly, and you should be prepared to face whatever lingering effects come your way.
Conscious oral sedation is prescribed in the form of a pill that is taken orally. Typically, this pill is taken about an hour prior to the procedure in order to ensure relaxation and ease. Often a dentist will recommend that the patient take a dose the night prior to the treatment, making sure that the patient rests well and is in the best mental and physical condition for recovery. Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, is another form of conscious sedation. Both the pills and the gas leave patients comfortable and at ease, but still responsive to commands by the dentist or staff.
The next level of sedation is intravenous sedation, also called IV sedation. This sedation is the fastest acting of all the sedation dentistry treatments. A known side-effect of IV sedation is memory loss, so most patients won’t remember what happened while they were “under.” Many patients believe erroneously that they were completely “out” or unconscious during treatment, but this isn’t true. You are still able to respond to commands, but the memory loss makes you feel as though you are asleep.
You will not be allowed to drive yourself following IV or conscious oral sedation. Even though you are up and walking and talking, it may take hours before the effects of the sedation wear off enough to make it safe for you to drive. Do not even consider trying to trick the dentist into thinking someone else is driving you home. You could cause a serious accident and harm yourself or others.
Talk to your dentist to determine what is recommended as far as recovery time goes for your specific sedation dentistry treatment choices.
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