Sedation dentistry involves the use of medicines to relax and anesthetize patients for a wide range of procedures. Whether groggy afterward depends on the type of sedation used, the length of the procedure, how the patient responds to the medications, and other individual factors that vary between patients. In general, dentists and oral surgeons that offer sedation dentistry provide options ranging from minimal sedation to general anesthesia, with sufficient training and licensing to authorize the use of such options.
General anesthesia and deep sedation are typically reserved for lengthy and/or invasive procedures; the type that involve a hospital stay. These options are used for major surgeries, major tooth extractions, extensive implant dentistry work, and other procedures that take several hours to perform and involve significant preparation and recovery time. General anesthesia and deep sedation are not usually administered in a dental clinic, but rather used more in hospital and surgical settings.
Moderate sedation can be achieved with oral medication such as Valium. The patient typically feels extremely relaxed, drowsy, and may fall asleep during the procedure but can be roused with relative ease. Pain medications will be administered to prevent discomfort during and after the procedure, and the patient will require an escort because the medication does not immediately wear off. After moderate sedation, most patients report feeling drowsy and engaging in naps for much of the day afterward, but grogginess is not on the same level as general anesthesia.
Conscious sedation is administered intravenously and/or inhaled and typically wears off within 30 minutes of the procedure. An escort is still required to transport the patient before and after the procedure, but there is usually no groggy feeling afterward. Oral surgeons and dentists offering sedation dentistry do so for the benefits to patients but will adjust options for individual patients in cases where one or more types of anesthesia do not fit the patient’s needs. For questions and more information on sedation dentistry and procedures, contact our caring specialists at Northern Virginia Oral, Maxillofacial & Implant Surgery today!