Can I Eat Before Dental Sedation? By Gooch Dental on September 16, 2021

Closeup of a woman in a dental chair who has been sedatedDental procedures can be a source of apprehension for many patients. So much so that many patients request they be sedated for their procedure. Sedation dentistry is the use of medication to help calm a patient’s anxiety during a dental procedure.

During your consultation, our doctors at Gooch Family Dental in Birmingham, AL, will discuss dietary restrictions you should abide by before we administer any type of sedation dentistry. The following are 4 common sedation techniques and the dietary restrictions associated with them.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, known commonly as laughing gas, is the mildest and least invasive form of dental sedation. The patient is awake and fully aware of their surroundings, but is in a relaxed state. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off rather quickly after it stops being administered. Most patients can drive safely home after their visit, for example.

There are usually little to no dietary restrictions given in advance of having nitrous oxide administered. Patients are free to eat a light meal before their procedure.

Local Anesthesia

Local anesthesia is perhaps the most common type of sedation dentistry used during dental procedures. It can be administered for patients undergoing deep cleanings, tooth extractions, and other common procedures. Patients experience the most discomfort during the initial prick of the needle and then only mild pressure as the dentist performs the procedure.

A light meal before the procedure is ok, but patients are advised to avoid eating heavily before procedures are performed under local anesthesia. Too much food may induce nausea.

Oral Sedatives

As the name implies, oral sedation is when a patient takes sedation medication in pill form. Patients are typically instructed to take their medication at a specified time before the dental procedure. The sedative will take effect by the time the patient arrives at our Birmingham office.

Accordingly, some patients may be instructed to restrict their food intake to up to six hours before a procedure. Clear liquids may be ok during this time. The dentist will advise the best way to proceed depending on the patient’s specific case, the medication prescribed, and the procedure being performed.

IV Sedation

IV, or intravenous sedation, is typically reserved for invasive dental procedures. The IV medication numbs any pain from the procedure while allowing the patient to remain responsive and to communicate if the need arises. With IV sedation, dietary restrictions are generally stricter.

Depending on the procedure, patients may be advised to not eat after midnight the night before, or at least six hours before the procedure, depending on the time of day the procedure is scheduled for. Usually, solid foods and beverages are restricted, as the patient’s stomach should generally be empty beforehand. It is also recommended that the intake of alcoholic beverages be avoided for up to 24 hours before the procedure.

Learn More About Sedation Dentistry Solutions

Our doctors at Gooch Family Dental offer sedation dentistry to relieve any anxiety patients may have about their dental procedures. Call our Birmingham office at (205) 545-8001 or schedule an appointment through our website to find out how we can help you.

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Gooch Family Dental

Gooch Family Dental

Gooch Family Dental is dedicated to providing convenient, comprehensive dentistry to the community in Birmingham, AL. We take advantage of the latest dental technology to streamline treatment, and deliver fast, beautiful results. Our proud affiliations include:

  • The American Dental Association
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • Birmingham District Dental Society
  • The Alabama Dental Association

You can learn more about our services, and schedule an appointment today by filling out our online form, or by calling (205) 991-9892.

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