How Long Does Dental Sedation Take To Wear Off?

June 25, 2020

Dental sedation is an option for patients with anxiety or difficulty undergoing oral surgery and other dental procedures. While generally safe and effective, many people often wonder how long it takes to wear off.

Forms of Dental Sedation

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is one of the most popular forms of dental sedation. Nitrous oxide usually takes a few minutes to take effect and lasts as long as the gas is still flowing. Once someone stops the gas flow, it takes a few minutes for the patient to recover to a somewhat normal state. Afterward, the patient may feel a bit disoriented but will regain his/her normal state faster than with other forms of dental sedation.

Oral Sedation

When it comes to dental sedation in the form of pills, patients need to take the medication the night before the scheduled procedure. You can also take the sedation several hours before the scheduled dentist appointment. When the oral sedation begins to take effect, patients feel disoriented and drowsy. This simplifies things for the oral surgeon. Essentially, oral sedation will suppress the gag reflex, suppress pain responses, reduce anxiety, and more.

However, these dental sedation methods usually last anywhere from two to eight hours after the procedure. The type of drug you take will determine how long it will take the sedation to wear off. Oral sedation may cause you to experience an amnesic effect. In fact, you may not remember ever visiting the oral surgeon's office.

An Overview of Conscious Sedation

Conscious sedation helps reduce pain, discomfort, and anxiety during certain dental procedures. This form of sedation works together with drugs and, sometimes, anesthesia to help patients feel relaxed. In dentistry, conscious sedation is ideal for people who often feel panicked and anxious during complex dental procedures. Such procedures include routine cleanings, root canals, and fillings.

Medical professionals often refer to this form of dental sedation as analgesia and procedural sedation. In the past, people called it happy air, sleep dentistry, laughing gas, happy gas, and twilight sleep.

How Long Does Dental Sedation Last?

Dental sedation is ideal for patients who have to go through lengthy procedures requiring them to sit still for several hours at a time. It is also usually safe for kids since they are often unable to sit still through long-lasting procedures. However, many patients often worry about the safety of dental sedation.

You should avoid eating and drinking anything for at least six hours before sedation and during sedation. It is important for your stomach to be empty to prevent regurgitated food from causing an obstruction in the airways while you are under.

After the procedure, you will remain in the cabinet for a while as you recover. Usually, dental sedation will start wearing off after half an hour or so. You may still feel lightheaded and drowsy for a few hours afterward. Therefore, you should have someone to keep you company and transport you home safely.

For more information about dental sedation, call Relaxation Dental Specialties at (719) 539‑3145. We believe that it is our mission to make our patients smile. Visit us today at our offices in Breckenridge or Salida, Colorado.