I’ve heard that dental sedation can make you sick. I’ve never had a reaction to any kind of medication, but I’m worried. Obviously, I don’t want to throw up at the dental office, but what I’m really concerned about is what happens when I go home. Is there a real risk of vomiting and choking while I’m still drowsy at home, or am I just overly anxious?
It might help you to have a better understanding of how sedation dentistry works.
Varying Levels of Dental Sedation
Nitrous oxide. You’ve probably heard it referred to as laughing gas. Nitrous oxide is the lowest level of sedation. It is fast-acting, administered in the office, and wears off quickly. It works well for anxious patients and gives you a sense of well-being. Research shows that after receiving nitrous oxide for a medical procedure, nausea is not a concern for most patients. The risk of nausea increases with longer procedures. But dental-office procedures are usually short, so you will be less likely to have an issue.
The good news is that nitrous oxide wears off before you leave the office, so you won’t be drowsy when you leave the dental office. To minimize the chances of feeling nauseous, avoid eating a large meal before your appointment.
Oral conscious sedation. Your dentist will give you oral medication to take in advance of your dental appointment. Oral conscious sedation is often used along with nitrous oxide. The types of medication that dentists prescribe vary, from sedatives to anti-anxiety medication and even antihistamines. Your dentist will likely have a list of preferred medications to help patients relax. Nausea is a potential side-effect with many medications. You will likely be advised not to eat after midnight before your appointment. Your dentist will also recommend that you have an adult with you for the rest of the day as the medication wears off.
IV sedation. This highest level of sedation has similar side-effects as oral conscious sedation. It provides a deeper state of relaxation, but unlike general anesthesia, you will still be conscious. You will need to arrange for transportation to and from your dental appointment.
Minimizing the Risk of Nausea
If you don’t have a history of nausea with medications, you probably won’t have any issues with dental sedation. It is also worth noting that most cases of nausea don’t result in vomiting. You can minimize the risk by following instructions on whether or not you can eat before. You can speak with your dentist about your concerns, and he or she will explain what you can expect before, during, and after your dental procedure.
This blog is sponsored by Plano sedation dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.