One of the most common questions our team fields when a client is faced with an impending oral surgery date is “what am I allowed eat or drink before my surgery?” This is an important question, as the food and drink that is ingested prior to a surgery can greatly affect the body’s interaction with administered anesthesia. Your oral surgeon will be able to give you specific guidelines regarding what you can eat and drink, and when.

This information is based on a combination of your general tolerance to anesthesia, as well as the type of sedative that will be used during your surgery. The following are three basic anesthesia types, and the corresponding dietary restrictions to heed when faced with oral surgery.

Local Anesthesia

A local anesthesia, or “local,” as it is commonly called, only affects the immediate area in which it is administered. A shot or topical numbing agent is an example of a local anesthetic. In this case, it is often advised that the patient refrain from eating for at least three hours prior to the oral surgery appointment – and it is beneficial if the meal is light.

Nitrous Oxide

Another popular sedative used during oral surgery is nitrous oxide. Commonly known as “laughing gas” due to its often-humorous side effect, nitrous oxide delivers a potent yet safe dose of euphoria that can make the patient less sure of their surroundings. One of the benefits of nitrous, when it comes to dietary restrictions, is the fact that the patient may eat a light meal up until three or four hours before their oral surgery time. This adds some flexibility to the appointment.

Intravenous IV

This method delivers the heaviest level of sedation for longer or more involved oral surgery procedures. IV sedation often leaves the patient unaware of their surroundings and they typically have little to no memory of the surgery. The anesthetic must be administered on an empty stomach; so stricter dietary guidelines must be followed to ensure safety and effectiveness. The basic rule of thumb is to refrain from eating during the day of the surgery if the procedure is scheduled on or before 2pm. If it will begin after 2pm, a light breakfast consisting of no more than 8 ounces of fluids may be consumed – at least six hours before the procedure. Stay away from sugar and milk if you are going to eat breakfast.

Your oral surgeon will tailor your diet plan to your specific needs, as well as to the level of anesthetic that you will likely encounter. Though it may seem straightforward, it is crucial that you follow the guidance of the oral surgeon’s pre operative instructions and adhere to the diet plan – you’ll enjoy a safer surgery and a more pleasant experience.