Preparing For Sedation Dentistry And What It Feels Like

27 September 2018
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

Sedation dentistry comes in two forms: the totally sedated and the mildly sedated. Total sedation dentistry often requires that you go to your local hospital to check into a surgical suite prior to the administration of the general anesthesia that knocks you all the way out. Mildly sedated is often conducted in the dentist's office because there is less concern that you will be oversedated, less risk that there might be complications from sedation, and/or less worry that you will develop an allergic reaction to the sedation medication. If you are about to head into a sedation dentistry appointment, here is how to prepare and what it will feel like.

Do Not Eat Anything After Midnight the Night Before

Regardless of which type of sedation you are planning to do, do not eat at least twelve hours beforehand. This is very much like sedation for surgery; the medication relaxes your entire body and you will not be able to control any reaction that may cause you to vomit. Vomiting is very dangerous for anyone that is under sedation as you can aspirate on the vomit and have a lot of trouble breathing. Ergo, "nothing by mouth" after midnight the night before.

The Anesthesiologist Will Begin with Laughing Gas Before Inserting the IV Anesthesia

Laughing gas is especially useful for calming you just enough to relax your muscles. With relaxed muscles, the anesthesiologist is best able to find a vein and insert the IV needle without hitting a nerve. Tense muscles cause your nerves to activate and be more "alive" when it comes to sensing pain, so it helps to have you calm before the needle goes into your arm. Even on the laughing gas, you will feel a slight twinge of pain, followed by a slight burning sensation as the medication and saline solution enters your vein. However, after about a minute or less, you will not feel much at all.

Mildly Sedated vs. Full Sedation

When you are mildly sedated, you are still conscious enough to feel pressure, but not much pain. The dentist will numb your mouth anyway. You will not feel the needle from the novocaine, but your mouth may get really relaxed. Do not be surprised if you sense yourself drooling; that is normal. You may not feel that happening at all, but if you do it is normal.

As for full sedation, you will feel nothing thirty seconds after the medication is administered. Absolutely nothing about your dental procedure is felt. Short of having teeth pulled or dental implants placed, you will feel no pain after the sedatives have worn off, either.