Preparing for Your Sedation Dentistry Appointment: Tips and Advice

If you’ve decided to undergo a dental procedure with sedation dentistry, you’re taking a significant step towards a more comfortable and anxiety-free dental experience.

Sedation dentistry is an excellent option for those who experience dental anxiety, have a low pain threshold, or need to undergo extensive dental work. Proper preparation is essential to ensure your appointment goes as smoothly as possible. Here are some practical tips and advice on preparing for your sedation dentistry appointment.

If you have any questions before your appointment, please call us!

1. Understand Your Sedation Options

Before your appointment, ensure you understand the type of sedation used. Sedation dentistry can range from mild sedation with nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to moderate sedation through oral sedatives or IV sedation. Each type has specific preparation steps and recovery times. Don’t hesitate to ask your dentist any questions you may have about the sedation process.

2. Follow Pre-Appointment Instructions

Your dental team will provide specific instructions based on the type of sedation you’ll be receiving. These may include:

  • Fasting: If you’re undergoing moderate to deep sedation, you might be required to fast (not eat or drink) for a certain period, usually 6 to 8 hours before the procedure.
  • Medication adjustments: Inform your dentist of all your medications and supplements, as some may need to be adjusted or avoided before your appointment.
  • Clothing: Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to your appointment. This can make access to monitoring equipment easier and help you feel more relaxed.

3. Arrange for Transportation

Regardless of the sedation level, arranging for someone to drive you home after your appointment is essential. Sedatives can impair your judgment and reflexes, making driving or operating machinery unsafe for at least 24 hours following your procedure.

4. Prepare Your Home for Recovery

After your procedure, you’ll need some time to rest and recover. Prepare your home in advance by:

  • Setting up a comfortable rest area: Have pillows and blankets ready to help you stay relaxed.
  • Stocking up on appropriate foods and beverages: Depending on your procedure, you may need to initially stick to soft foods or liquids. Have these ready at home.
  • Staying hydrated: Drinking plenty of water after your procedure is crucial, especially if you’ve been fasting.

5. Follow Post-Care Instructions

Your dentist will provide specific instructions for care after your sedation dentistry procedure. These may include guidelines on oral hygiene, pain or discomfort management, and when to resume normal activities. Follow these instructions closely to ensure a smooth recovery.

6. Have Emergency Contacts Ready

Although complications are rare, it’s a good idea to have emergency contact information for your dental office. Also, let someone close to you know about your procedure so they can check in on you as you recover.

7. Ask Questions

Don’t hesitate to contact your dental team if you have any concerns or questions about your upcoming procedure. Understanding the process can help alleviate any anxiety and ensure you’re fully prepared for your appointment.


Following these tips and advice can help ensure that your sedation dentistry appointment is as smooth and comfortable as possible. Remember, sedation dentistry is a tool to help you achieve better oral health without the stress and anxiety traditionally associated with dental procedures.

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The only board-certified dental anesthesiologist in Missouri, including St. Louis.

Updated: March 18, 2024

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