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