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Side Effects of Dental Sedation

Dental sedation has several advantages for anxious patients, and you may be wondering if it is right for you. To help you make an informed decision, our Toronto dentists discuss the potential side effects of dental sedation in today's post.

Possible Side Effects of Dental Sedation

Below are the most common side-effects of dental sedation.

Slow Reflexes

When you wake up from dental sedation, it can take a while for your reflexes to return to normal. Expect it to take 24 hours for your reflexes to "catch up" to their pre-sedation levels, according to our Toronto dentists.


Sedation-induced contractions of the facial and scalp muscles can result in headaches. These should subside quickly and are not cause for concern; however, if you begin to experience frequent or excruciatingly painful headaches, you should seek medical advice.


After sedation, it is common to feel sick or nauseated. While recovering from sedation, it is recommended that you relax and avoid heavy foods or alcohol. Your body will take some time to re-boot, and any feelings of sluggishness or sickness should dissipate quickly.


Drowsiness is perhaps the most common side effect of dental sedation, and patients frequently report it during their recovery. After a procedure, it's best to have someone else drive you home and get plenty of rest so you can regain your full alertness. If you need to get up and about, wait until you've fully recovered from the sedation before doing so alone.


After waking up from dental sedation, some patients report feeling "heavy" or "sluggish." This is completely normal, and it's another reason why you shouldn't drive home after being sedated. Because it is illegal to drive while under the influence of a sedative, you must attend the appointment with someone who can drive you home at the end.

Gaps in Memory of the Procedure

Even mild forms of sedation, such as nitrous oxide, can induce a dream-like state in patients. While under the influence of a sedative, likely, you won't remember much about the dental procedures you had done. This type of memory loss is normally limited to events that occurred while you were under the influence of the sedative and is nothing to be concerned about. While you're recovering from being sedated, we recommend avoiding activities that require a lot of concentration or require you to make important decisions.

Low Blood Pressure

Sedation can lower blood pressure temporarily, which could explain some of the other reported side effects like headaches, drowsiness, and nausea. This is usually temporary and not a cause for concern; however, persistently low blood pressure can lead to serious health problems, so if you are experiencing symptoms for more than 24 hours after being sedated, please contact your doctor for an evaluation and advice.

Do you have questions about dental sedation and its various side effects? Do you need help determining if dental sedation is right for you? Contact Bay Street Dental Associates today to make an appointment with one of our Toronto dentists or to have your questions answered by a member of our team.

Nervous about visiting the dentist? We can help.

Our dentists can take the stress out of your next appointment with a range of sleep and sedation dentistry options.

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