While sedation isn’t necessary for some procedures, it’s often a good idea for patients who are suffering with dental anxiety or who are undergoing surgery. General anesthesia is designed for patients who need the highest level of sedation. It’s often used in procedures like smile makeovers or full mouth reconstruction. Our experienced anesthesiologist will give you the anesthesia before you undergo treatment. They will also be there to ensure everything goes smoothly throughout the procedure.
Method of Anesthesia
Description of Technique
The patient remains totally conscious throughout the procedure. A local anesthetic (e.g., lidocaine) is administered in the area where the surgery is to be performed. Local anesthetic is used in conjunction with the other methods of anesthesia in all oral surgery procedures.
Dental procedures such as fillings, crowns, root canals, minor soft tissue procedures, and simple tooth extractions.
Nitrous Oxide Sedation with Local Anesthetic
A mixture of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oxygen is administered through a nasal breathing apparatus. The patient remains conscious in a relaxed condition. Nitrous oxide has a sedative and analgesic (pain-controlling) effect.
Simple oral surgery procedures to more involved procedures such as removal of wisdom teeth and placement of dental implants, or any dental procedure in which the patient would like to feel more relaxed.
Office-Based General Anesthesia with Local Anesthetic* (Sleep Dentistry)
Medications are administered through an intravenous line (I.V.). The patient falls asleep and is completely unaware of the procedure being performed. Medications most commonly used are Fentanyl (opiate), Versed (benzodiazepine), Ketamine, and Diprivan. Supplemental oxygen is delivered through a nasal breathing apparatus, and the patient’s vital signs are closely monitored.
General anesthesia is available for all types of oral surgery. Patients may choose general anesthesia for simple procedures depending on their level of anxiety. Most people having their wisdom teeth removed or having a dental implant placed will choose general anesthesia. General anesthesia may be necessary if local anesthesia fails to anesthetize the surgical site which often occurs in the presence of infection.
Hospital or Surgery Center-Based General Anesthesia
A patient is admitted to a hospital or surgery center where anesthesia is administered by an anesthesiologist.
Indicated for patients undergoing extensive procedures such as face and jaw reconstruction or TMJ surgery. Also indicated for patients with medical conditions such as heart or lung disease who require general anesthesia.
If you choose to undergo general sedation, you will be unconscious throughout your treatment and will likely not remember the details of the procedure. You will not have to worry about experiencing pain or discomfort and will likely not be responsive until the sedation wears off.
We usually only suggest general sedation if you’re undergoing a treatment that requires a large amount of work, or if you’re undergoing multiple treatments in the same day. In these situations, the general sedation works both to ensure your comfort and help us treat you as efficiently as possible.
While IV sedation suppresses pain and discomfort, it does not render you unconscious. You will be able to follow directions as needed. This is different from general sedation, which does render you unconscious.
If you are uncertain which form of sedation you need, we will be happy to discuss both options with you. We typically cover sedation during your consultation.
General sedation is ideal for situations where we need to perform multiple treatments in a single visit. You don’t have to worry about feeling pain while we provide the care you need.
At the same time, it does come with risks. While it’s rare for patients to experience serious side effects, it is possible to experience changing blood pressure, pneumonia, an allergic reaction, or even a heart attack.
The risk is greatly reduced for healthy patients, which we’ll take into consideration during your initial consultation. That said, even healthy individuals may feel nauseous in the aftermath of general sedation. Even vomiting is not a cause for concern, provided that the symptoms go away quickly.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our office is committed to helping patients get the care they need, and we don’t want dental anxiety to get in the way of that.
General sedation is designed for major procedures. If you’re undergoing a minor procedure, you may be a better candidate for IV sedation.