March 1, 2023

How Long Does It Take for Dental Sedation to Wear off?


Did you know that about 36% of people in the US avoid going to the dentist because they are afraid? 

Dental anxiety is quite common, but it can also be overcome with the help of sedation. More and more practices, including us here at Waterfront Dental, offer sedation dentistry to help anxious patients get stress-free treatment. 

If you are scheduled for a dental procedure and will receive sedation, you may want to know how long the effects will last. 

Well, the short answer is that it depends. 

Types of Dental Sedation

One of the main factors that will influence the effects and duration of the symptoms experienced is the type of dental sedation. 

  • Nitrous Oxide

Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a mild and safe sedative. The gas is inhaled through a mask and takes effect almost immediately. The effects of nitrous oxide typically wear off within 5 to 10 minutes after the mask is removed.

  • Oral Sedation

Oral sedation involves taking a pill before the procedure. The effects of oral sedation can last for several hours and may take another several hours for the patient to fully recover.

  • IV Sedation

IV sedation is administered through a thin needle inserted into your vein. This type of sedation takes effect quickly and its effects can last for several hours. You will also need a few hours before you will be fully recovered. 

  • General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is the most complex form of sedation and it's only used in specific cases. The sedative is administered through an IV and will put you to sleep. The effects of general anesthesia can last for several hours and may take several hours to fully recover.

Other Factors That Can Affect the Duration of Dental Sedation

In addition to the type of sedation used, other factors can also influence when and how fast the symptoms will wear off: 

  • The Dosage: The amount of sedative administered can also affect how long it takes for the effects to wear off.
  • The Patient's Metabolism: Each person's metabolism is unique, and this can affect how quickly the sedation is metabolized and eliminated from the body.
  • The Procedure: The length and complexity of the procedure can also affect how long it takes for the sedation to wear off.

What to Expect During the Recovery Time

Regardless of the type of sedation used, the team at Waterfront Dental will monitor you and make sure that you are well and out of any risks. The recovery time will depend on the type of sedation used and your response to the sedation.

For example, if you've received nitrous oxide, you will recover almost immediately and will be able to resume normal activities and drive yourself home minutes after the procedure. 

But, if you've received oral or IV sedation, you will likely be groggy and will need someone to drive you home and keep an eye on you for a few hours. 

If the procedure requires general anesthesia, we will monitor you until you are fully awake. Of course, you will need someone to drive you home and take care of you for a period of time until the effects fully wear out. 

Anxious About Your Next Dental Appointment? Sedation May Be The Solution! 

If you always postpone seeing the dentist until your dental issues evolve into serious problems, you need to consider sedation. 

At Waterfront Dental, we offer a variety of dental sedation options, including IV sedation. 

If you have any questions about how sedation works, don't hesitate to contact us or leave us a message

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