The dentist's office is one of the few places where you can walk in for a daytime appointment that involves minor to significant sedation. There are a number of reasons why a person might need sedation during dental treatments. Some panic at the sight of a cleaning pick while others need serious oral surgery and sedation is the best way to complete the necessary procedures.
Whether you are being sedated for your peace of mind or as a pain management technique, there are a few universal, you'll still need to plan your day with sedation in mind. Today, we're here to talk about how you can prepare for a sedation dentistry appointment so that you're ready for your time in the chair and can get home safely afterward.
Drink Lots of Fluids the Day Before
It's important to be hydrated the day of your visit. This means drinking at least 8 glasses of water the day BEFORE your sedation visit. You will not be allowed to eat or drink anything the day of your sedation, so it's important that you do not arrive dehydrated.
Empty Your Stomach
The number one rule of sedation is to not eat anything before your appointment. This usually means nothing after midnight the night before. This will ensure that your stomach is empty. The reason for this is that while sedation can be enjoyable, some people experience nausea from the 'floaty' feeling.
Wear Comfortable Clothes
Planning for sedation at the dentist's office is a lot like planning for a long airplane flight. Only this time you can be sure there will be no seat-kicking toddlers or questionable in-flight meals. As any experienced traveler knows, comfortable clothing is the key to enjoying a long-term chair nap.
Even if you are coming straight from work, make sure that you are wearing something that will be comfortable to sleep in for an extended amount of time. Avoid binding waistbands, scratchy seams, and stiff garments that can become easily wrinkled and avoid high-heels for obvious reasons.
Chances are that even if you walk in wearing Snoopy pajamas, your dentist may laugh and then congratulate you on the practical attire for your sedation dentistry appointment.
Bring Someone to Take You Home
While comfort matters, the most important thing to remember about sedation dentistry is that you won't be fit to drive afterward. If you drive your car to the dentist's office then need to be picked up, you'll have to come back for your car the next day.
This means that the ideal arrangement is for someone to bring you to the appointment and then drive you home afterward. Bring a friend or relative to be your designated driver. Because the wait might be some time, advise them to bring a book or their phone charger along with them to stay occupied until you're ready to be taken home. Some offices do not require your driver to remain during the entire visit. Home healthcare services are also available if you do not have someone to help you afterwards.
Pack Headphones and Soothing Music
Depending on the depth of your sedation, your dentist may or may not plan to talk your sleepy brain through the procedure. Or they might intend to take care of the whole treatment while you have drifted off to dreamland. If your goal is to be out like a light during your procedure, especially for patients who tend to panic in the dentist chair, we advise bringing headphones and a source of soothing music.
This will not only keep you entertained in the waiting room, you can also help yourself drift away from the dental treatment once in the chair. Just be sure to check with your dentist before popping in your earbuds.
Leave Your Afternoon Open
Finally, don't make any serious plans for the rest of the day after your sedation dentistry appointment. Most mild sedation treatments will have you awake and interactive for the rest of the day, but you should not operate machinery or do anything that requires serious brain power.
Instead, plan your dental appointment for a day when you can take the afternoon off. Go out for ice cream (if approved by your dentist), see a movie, or spend time with friends and family while you're feeling silly and fun. But don't go back to work or try to drive. You might not like the results once you have slept off the sedation aftereffects.
Sedation dentistry can range anywhere from a light dreamy feeling during your appointment to complete unconsciousness depending on the treatment and your needs.
With these preparation steps, along with any specific instructions from your dentist, you will be able to enjoy your appointment and the day afterward in comfort. Make sure to wear soft clothing, plan for a ride home, and leave the rest of your day open. For more information on sedation dentistry options and what to expect, contact us today!