Can I Drive after Tooth Extraction, is it Safe to Drive Myself Home?


General and Cosmetic Dentist

Table of Contents

Should You Drive after Getting a Teeth Pulled ?

I have a terrible toothache and the tooth needs to come out as soon as possible. Will I need someone to drive me home after the tooth has been extracted or can I drive myself home afterwards?

To make tooth extraction more comfortable and relaxing, there are normally two options to help you relax, relieve pain, or even put you to sleep:

  • Sedation
  • local anesthetic

The type of extraction, your overall health, anxiety levels, and allergies can all influence the type that is ideal for you.

Sedation and local anesthetic are two popular alternatives, and while they may appear to be interchangeable, they have numerous major differences. Whichever option you choose will affect whether or not you will be able to drive following the tooth extraction surgery.

You may not drive after a Tooth Extraction under Sedation

Driving after a tooth has been extracted will mostly depend on if the patient was sedated or not to have the tooth extracted. Typically, when getting a tooth extracted, depending on the level of anxiety a patient may choose to be sedated. Depending on the type of sedation. The risks of driving after a tooth have been extracted increases exponentially but the general consensus is that you avoid driving after a tooth has been extracted under sedation

The Different Types of Dental Sedation Available for Tooth Extraction

There are different types of dental sedation available. The type you receive for an extraction varies based on a few factors. Your age and health play a role, as does the length of time needed for the procedure, and how nervous or anxious you may be.

  1. Nitrous oxide, also referred to as laughing gas, is a type of dental sedation that can help you relax and make you comfortable. It is often used for fast extractions and procedures. lady holding a thumbs up sign being sedated with nitrous oxide for tooth extraction
  2. Oral sedation involves you taking a sedative in pill form. This type of sedation is perfect for those who are extremely anxious or have multiple extractions. You are awake, but you may not feel much.a female hand holding two blue pills for oral sedation tooth extraction
  3. IV sedation It is a milder form of General anesthesia designed to sedate the patient, but they are still awake. They just don’t really care and don’t really remember what happened during the procedure. This is the preferred sedation method for small children who may not be able to sit through the procedure, those who have severe dental anxiety, or those who have complicated extractions, such as removing impacted teeth.  patient-being-sedated-with-IV-sedation
  4. General anesthesia: A drug-induced loss of consciousness during which patients are not arousable, even by painful stimulation. General anesthesia is done with a tube placed in the lungs and the patient is given meds to demobilize them, so they don’t move during the procedure. It requires much closer monitoring and is typically done in a hospital setting.woman being sedated general anesthesia tooth extraction

When can I Drive after Tooth Extraction Under Sedation?

Wait for 24 hours after Sedation to drive after tooth extraction. A good rule of thumb is to allow a full 24 hours after the procedure for the full effects of dental sedation to wear off before you attempt to drive again. We believe this is the safest option.

Driving After Tooth Extraction with Local anesthesia 

a black young boy being injected in the upper molar with local anesthesia for tooth extraction

Driving after a tooth extraction with local anesthesia is generally safe. This is because only the immediate area surrounding the extraction site is numbed, the nerve endings are blocked, and the treated area ceases to feel anything. At the same time, the patient is conscious, can communicate with the doctor and observe everything that happens in the office so the patient is more aware when driving home.

What is Local anesthesia:

Local anesthesia is when a part of your body is numbed with a medicine called a local anesthetic. You may have a local anesthetic to stop pain during and after surgery.

How does a local anesthetic work?

greater palatine nerve block local anethesia

 A local anesthetic works by blocking the way your nerves carry pain signals to your brain. This numbing effect lasts for a short while. You’re still awake and aware of what’s going on around you, but you can’t feel any pain, usually just some touch and pressure sensations instead.

Types of local anesthesia

There are three main types of local anesthesia:

  • topical anesthesia
  • local anesthetic injections
  • regional anesthesia

Topical anesthesia

topical anesthesia topex anesthetic gel for tooth extraction

A Topical anesthetic is applied to your gums. It can be used as a gel, cream, drops, ointment, or spray. This can be used to numb the area before an injection or implant so that the needle doesn’t hurt.

Local anesthetic injections

tooth extraction with local anethesia

A local anesthetic is injected just beneath the skin to target the nerves that cause pain. Afterward, your skin and the area right beneath it will feel numb. This is often combined with topical anesthesia by dentist for tooth extractions and patient can drive after tooth extraction using these methods

Regional anesthesia

Your doctor or anesthetist will inject a local anesthetic near a nerve to numb a large area or an area deep inside your body. There are different types of regional anesthesia and Regional anesthetics affect larger areas, such as an arm, a leg, or everything below the waist. For example, this sort of anesthesia is used for hand and joint surgeries, to ease the pain of childbirth, or during a C-section delivery.

Prescription Medicine may prevent you from driving after tooth extraction with local anesthesia

If you were prescribed pain medication after your surgery, your return to driving may be delayed further especially if you are a truck driver. Prescription medications like some pain relievers, may slow your reflexes and affect your ability to drive safely. This is called drugged driving and it is illegal depending on the type of medication being prescribed to control pain post-surgery 

When is it safe to drive after a tooth extraction?

picture of a brown man holding a steering wheel

It is always best to ask your doctor if it is safe to drive. If you have had a simple tooth extraction under just local anesthesia, chances are it was not a traumatic experience, and you will most likely not have post-surgery pain and if any it will be very minimal and bearable. Simple extractions done under local anesthesia are typically a sign that a patient can safely drive home after a tooth extraction.

Keem Smile Dentistry can Help you remove your hurting tooth and get you out of pain with just local anesthesia so you are able to drive yourself home safely after the procedure. Call us now for a free Consultation*.

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