IV Sedation Procedure - Recovery - Post-operative instructions
IV Sedation Dentistry

IV Sedation Procedure - Recovery

The sedative effects of the drugs administered during an IV sedation procedure do not wear off immediately after the end of treatment, but they may last up to 24 hrs or more. The IV sedation recovery phase remains important for the safety of the patient. Patients must follow the post-operative instructions after leaving the dental office to avoid complications.

IV Sedation Recovery

When the dental treatment is completed the patient should be given enough time to recover from the effects of IV sedation, either in the same room or in a designated recovery area.

The patient must remain under supervision; the patient's escort can be invited to sit with the patient during this period. It is recommended that the pulse oximetry monitoring is continued during the recovery period especially for medically compromised patients.

The patient is usually in a condition to be discharged approximately 1h after the last dose of sedative drug is given. Due to the wide variation from patient to patient, an assessment by the IV sedation dentist is always required. This is usually done by asking the patient to walk across the room, turn and walk back.

If there is no sign of loss of balance and the patient feels comfortable, the dentist can discharge the patient.

Patients receiving IV conscious sedation are not permitted to leave the dental office unescorted after the procedure. Postoperative instructions and contact phone should be given to the patient’s companion. Although they have already been given prior to the procedure, the patient may not remember them after the sedation.

Postoperative instructions after IV Sedation Dentistry

In general, the postoperative instructions after an IV conscious sedation procedure include the following:

  • Have a companion to drive you home after the IV sedation appointment and rest for the remainder of the day.
  • Have an adult to stay with you for the next 24 hours until the effects of the IV sedation have worn off.
  • Don't perform any hazardous activities. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery for 24 hours.
  • Do not take over responsible tasks or take important decisions for at least 24 hours until you are fully mentally alert.
  • Do not eat a heavy meal immediately after IV sedation. If you're hungry, have only a light meal.
  • If you experience nausea, lie down for a while. If the symptoms are intense contact your dentist.
  • Do not smoke or drink alcohol following the administration of IV conscious sedation.
  • Take any medication prescribed by the dentist. Do not take any other medications for the rest of the day unless they have been discussed and approved by your sedation dentist.
  • If you have any unusual symptoms or feel discomfort, call your dentist. If unable to contact your sedation dentist, call the closest hospital emergency room.

Each patient may respond differently to IV sedation. Therefore, each patient’s recovery time is different based on the individual’s unique response to the sedative medication. For some patients it may take more than 24 hours for the effects of IV sedation to be fully worn off.


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