Recovery Period and Instructions After Sedation Dentistry

Posted on: July 16, 2019

If sedation dentistry is used during a dental procedure, patients need to learn about recovery and aftercare. The medications used for sedation can modify perception, coordination, and memory. Although patients can expect to recover fully on the same day, the effects of the drugs can persist for another 24 hours. Following the aftercare instructions will ensure a smooth recovery.

Recovering after undergoing sedation dentistry

Patients are usually held back at the office until the anesthesiologist deems it safe to go home. Typically, this is about 30 to 45 minutes after the procedure is complete. After the dentist decides it is safe to leave, it will take at least three to four hours for patients to recover completely from the drugs used for sedation. The following are important aftercare instructions for patients who have undergone a form of sedation for a dental procedure:

Go home

The patient must go home directly from the dentist’s office to rest and recover comfortably. A patient who has recently been sedated will be unable to operate a vehicle after leaving the dental office. The person will need a ride home and supervision by an adult for about three to four hours after leaving the dental office. Sometimes, recovery can take longer, so the person will need to stay for as long as necessary. The main issue is balance and coordination. The patient may suffer injuries if they try to move unaided.

Drinking and Eating

The patient must not be given anything to drink until they are fully awake. Vomiting and aspiration may occur if the patient drinks something too soon. Ideally, they should start small and gradually increase the amount until the patient can drink a full glass of water without vomiting or feeling nausea. Once the patient can drink soft foods and fluids without issue, they can try more solid foods. Juice, soda, or water are acceptable, but no dairy products. Diets can be modified based on how the patient feels.

At this point, the patient will also be able to take any medication recommended by the doctor. Over the counter painkillers such as Tylenol and Motrin may be helpful. For adults with special needs, the patient will be evaluated based on the extent of incapacity. Usually, patients should not be given any fluid for at least an hour after leaving the dental office.

Important note

Regarding recovery, patients must avoid operating any electrical or mechanical machinery or appliance. They must also stay away from driving for at least 12 hours or more. Any important decision or signing vital documents should be postponed. Patients must also avoid alcoholic beverages and smoking for at least 24 hours, and should not participate in any activity unaccompanied.

Take it easy

Patients should be careful when moving and seek assistance if possible. If they experience dizziness, they should sit or lie back and rest.

Final note

Sedation dentistry helps patients with dental anxiety. Patients must follow the aftercare instructions recommended by their dentist so they can return to their daily routine as soon as possible.

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