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For dental outpatients undergoing conscious sedation, recovery from sedation must be sufficient to allow safe discharge home, and many researchers have defined "recovery time" as the time until the patient was permitted to return home after the end of dental treatment. But it is frequently observed that patients remain in the clinic after receiving permission to go home. The present study investigated "clinical recovery time," which is defined as the time until discharge from the clinic after a dental procedure. We analyzed data from 61 outpatients who had received dental treatment under conscious sedation at the Hiroshima University Dental Hospital between January 1998 and December 2000 (nitrous oxide-oxygen inhalation sedation [n = 35], intravenous sedation with midazolam [n = 10], intravenous sedation with propofol [n = 16]). We found that the median clinical recovery time was 40 minutes after nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation, 80 minutes after midazolam sedation, and 52 minutes after propofol sedation. The clinical recovery time was about twice as long as the recovery time described in previous studies. In a comparison of the sedation methods, clinical recovery time differed (P = .0008), being longer in the midazolam sedation group than in the nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation group (P = .018). These results suggest the need for changes in treatment planning for dental outpatients undergoing conscious sedation.