Sedation Dentistry- Risks, Benefits and Recovery | Kirkland Premier Dentistry
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Sedation Dentistry- Risks, Benefits and Recovery

February 10, 2022

Sedation Dentistry: An Overview

A comfortable, safe, effective and beneficial option for patients, Sedation dentistry is a practical option for patients who face nervousness or anxiety of being at the dentist and find it hard to sit still for long periods and do not easily get numb from anesthetics. 

Bad gag reflex, over-sensitive teeth, time constraints, complex dental problems and phobia of needles, shots and noises during the procedure are some of the other reasons for patients to opt for Sedation Dentistry.

The three most popular methods of Sedation Dentistry are:

  1. Inhalation (Nitrous Oxide Gas)
  2. Oral ( Given as Pill)
  3. IV Sedation (Intravenous Sedation)

Advantages of Sedation Dentistry

Enabling the doctor to perform many dental treatments safely and comfortably for patients who experience anxiety and restlessness when visiting the dentist, Sedation Dentistry has several other benefits like:

  • No anxiety during the procedure
  • No recollection of undergoing the complicated procedure
  • No sense of time spent on the procedure 
  • No feeling of smell or sound
  • No fear or apprehension during the treatment
  • Allowing the doctor to work faster, 
  • A simple and relaxing way to experience dentistry.

Risks or Complications of Sedation Dentistry

Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?

Yes, Sedation Dentistry is generally safe when administered by an experienced dental surgeon.

However, like any other medical procedure, there is always a small risk of complications which include:

  • Lingering drowsiness.
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Bruising from the IV Sedation Dentistry.

The effect of oral sedation dentistry medications is unpredictable. There may be an allergic reaction in some people though it’s very rare.

Sedation Dentistry for Kids

A perfectly safe option for kids too, Sedation Dentistry allows the children to undergo complicated procedures easily and comfortably. 

 Usually, short-lived Child sedation dentistry side effects may include:

  • Irritability in the child
  • Snoring
  • Fever which is manageable 
  • Nausea and vomiting.

Some children are slow to wake after sedation. In such cases, the dentist monitors the child until they feel it is safe for the child to go home. 

All the above-mentioned side effects are normal and go away on their own in a day or two.

One can consult the dentist for addressing the concerns before their child undergoes Sedation Dentistry

Related Article: Sedation Dentistry- Types and Procedure

Sedation Dentistry and Pregnancy

Sedation dentistry is usually not recommended for women who are pregnant as a few sedative medications can hurt fetal development. 

Sedation dentistry with Nitrous oxide can be given in some cases during the second trimester.

However, it is advisable to wait until after pregnancy to administer sedation dentistry.


The recovery time for Sedation Dentistry depends on the type of sedation chosen and the response of the body to the medications. 

Generally, the people who have nitrous oxide sedation recover within 15 to 30 minutes and can drive themselves home too, following their appointment.

However, the patients who opt for oral sedation dentistry or IV sedation dentistry generally need about 24 hours to recover fully and be able to perform tasks like driving, going back to work or school and operating any machinery.

Some people may require a longer recovery time. Your dentist should be able to guide you on what to expect in your situation.

However, one can eat and drink immediately after the appointment, though most people choose to wait until the numbness from the local anesthesia wears off.

Clear liquids are the best way to start, and progress to a smoothie or milkshake.

Something more substantial can be eaten after a couple of hours if the patient feels like doing so. 

A list of postoperative guidelines is provided by the dentist with instructions about which types of food to avoid and the safe options to eat. 

Experience Counts

It is extremely important to choose a dentist with adequate training and experience in Sedation Dentistry.

A lot of vigilant monitoring is needed in administering moderate sedation, or “conscious” sedation, like laughing gas. 

Dentists should have rescue drugs on and monitor oxygen levels and heart rate carefully in moderate Sedation.

Only a qualified provider should administer both deep sedation and general IV anesthesia.

The parents and patients both should be apprised of the risks, benefits and alternatives to sedation dentistry.

It can take at least 24 hours for the effects of Sedation to wear off. 

However, if one develops alarming symptoms like nausea or vomiting, a fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit or 38.33 degrees Celsius, or pain that does not improve with medication, one must call their dentist for further instructions immediately.

A Note From Doctor

Dr. Gaurav Sharma at Kirkland Premier Dentistry says that anxiety should not keep one from receiving the quality dental care one deserves.

For the ones who dread the thought of going to the dentist, sedation dentistry can help you get the care they need for long-lasting oral health.

An appointment with your dentist can help you find a sedation option that works for you and can help you in getting that dental treatment you have been postponing due to anxiety and phobia.

Sedation Dentistry is changing the way people look at dental procedures and making them a comfortable and pleasant experience.

So just relax in the chair while we work on keeping your smile intact!

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