When Does Sedation Wear Off?

Dental sedation is a critical part of getting people access to oral health care. It’s often used to help those with severe dental anxiety get over their crushing fear and sit through an appointment calm and relaxed.

But it can also be used in any of the following cases:

  • Small children
  • People with severe gag reflexes
  • Complex and lengthy procedures
  • People with certain disabilities who cannot lie still in the dentist’s chair, etc.

If you’ve recently learned you will need dental sedation during your next appointment, you likely wonder how long its effects will last.

Well, the answer actually depends on the type of dental sedation you’ll receive.

Keep reading to fully understand this topic.

The Four Types of Dental Sedation 

There are currently four types of sedation used by dentists:

  • Nitrous oxide: This is the mildest type of sedation and is also known as laughing gas. It only provides temporary effects on patients and is administered right before a procedure starts;
  • Oral conscious sedation: It involves taking medication shortly before a procedure. It’s usually used in cases where a patient needs a stronger sedative or cannot receive laughing gas due to an allergy or other pre-existing condition;
  • IV sedation: Patients who will undergo extensive and lengthy dental work may need IV sedation, which can deliver a constant stream of medications to keep them relaxed;
  • General anesthesia: This form of sedation is only used for major surgery. It’s also the only type of sedation that renders the patient unconscious.

Sedation Effects: How Long Do They Actually Last?

Before your appointment, the dentist will inform you about the type of sedation you’ll be receiving and any subsequent plans you need to make. In some cases, you will need to have a friend or family member drive you home after your appointment.

The shortest time frame with dental sedation comes with laughing gas. After completing the dental work, the dentist switches from the gas to oxygen, and with every exhale, you will push out the gas from your system. 

By the time you’re ready to leave, you won’t feel any of the effects of the gas, and you can even drive yourself home. 

The other types of sedation will take longer to wear off:

  • Oral conscious sedation: effects start wearing off after 20 minutes or so and can persist for up to 6 hours;
  • IV sedation: effects can last for around 12 hours, and they fully wear off 24 hours after the procedure;
  • General anesthesia: effects can last for 24 hours or more, and patients are kept under supervision until they wear off.

Sedation at Coronado Family Dental

Dr. Becky Chiem can help you access relaxed dental care through oral conscious sedation or nitrous oxide. 

Schedule a sedation consultation at Coronado Family Dental and stop by to discover your options.

Call us at (505) 369-6451 for more information.