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Can I Drive After a Tooth Extraction Without Sedation?

Medical procedures come with their share of questions in order to plan ahead, and the same is true for getting a tooth extraction without sedation.

Do I need to take time off of work or school? How long will the procedure take? Can I drive myself to and from the appointment?

The answer to whether or not it’s safe to drive after a tooth extraction depends entirely on the type of anesthesia your oral surgeon uses in the procedure.

Types of Anesthesia

Some forms of anesthesia wear off quickly and are safe for driving. Depending on the difficulty of the tooth extraction, the number of teeth to be extracted and the duration of the procedure, your oral surgeon will determine what anesthesia is best. The following anesthesias are typically considered safe for driving afterwards, unless you are directed otherwise by your provider:

  • Local anesthesia, where the immediate area surrounding the extraction site is numbed, is completely safe for driving afterwards. This type of procedure is known as a tooth extraction without sedation, and patients can drive themselves to and from their appointments without any added concern.
  • Minimal sedation, usually achieved through laughing gas, wears off within a few minutes and is also safe for driving home afterwards.

For more extensive tooth extractions, your dentist or oral surgeon may opt for the use of a deeper sedation. The following are not safe for driving:

  • Moderate to deep sedation puts you in a sleeplike state through the use of a pill or an IV. The effects can take a few hours to wear off and can leave you feeling sleepy and confused. You should get a ride home after undergoing moderate or deep sedation and don’t operate a vehicle until the effects have worn off completely.
  • General anesthesia or IV sedation is the deepest form of sedation. Patients under general anesthesia are monitored closely throughout the procedure and for the first little bit afterwards since it can take quite a while for the effects to dissipate. If you are put under general anesthesia, you should not drive for at least 24 to 48 hours.

For procedures using these deeper types of sedation, your oral surgeon will let you know ahead of time so that you can plan to have someone drive you to and from your appointment. If you have any questions or concerns about the type of anesthesia that will be used in your procedure, you should let your provider know right away.

Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah Are Your Tooth Extraction Experts

Whether you need a simple tooth extraction without sedation or are in need of a more complex tooth extraction, our expert team at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah is here to help. Our board-certified oral surgeons have extensive experience in all levels of tooth extractions as well as numerous other oral surgeries and procedures. We pride ourselves in offering the best care at a great value to every single one of our patients. We have offices in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan, and Tooele, Utah. Call us today for your free consultation!


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