Dental Tips Blog


Sedation Dentistry Includes More Than Nitrous Oxide

All methods of anesthesia for oral procedures are determined largely on the nature of the specific procedure to be performed or by the patient’s level of anxiety and apprehension. Nitrous Oxide is commonly used for calming anxious patients before any oral procedure. Nitrous Oxide is a harmless gas that is administered nasally in an oxygen mixture. It is quickly effective and dissaptes just as quickly so that the patient is not left with any kind of hungover feeling. Usually, this is given in conjunction with a local anesthetic, which enables the patient to remain conscious, but relaxed and comfortable throughout the dental procedure. A local anesthetic is administered in the area where the work is to be performed in all oral surgery procedures.

Another option is intravenous anesthesia, which includes I.V. sedation and general anesthesia for all types of oral surgery or other dental care.  In most cases this is done in the dentist’s or oral surgeon’s office, but if general anesthesia is used it will be administered in a specially equipped surgical suite or hospital operating room. Some patients with severe anxiety may choose this method even for relatively simple procedures. Generally, individuals experiencing the removal of wisdom teeth or a dental implant will choose this procedure. This method of sedation may also be necessary in cases where local anesthesia fails to anesthetize the surgical site, as can happen where infection is present. With this sedation technique, the patient is asleep and completely unaware of their surroundings; vital signs are closely monitored.

For those individuals undergoing extensive procedures such as jaw reconstruction or TMJ surgery, the patient is usually admitted to a hospital or surgery center where lgeneral anesthesia is administered by an anesthesiologist. Hospital sleep dentistry is also recommended for patients with medical conditions such as heart or lung disease. Be sure to talk to your dentist about your level of anxiety and preferred choice of anesthesia.

Posted on behalf of Dr. David Kurtzman



Oral and General Anesthesia

Sedation options in dentistry have allowed even the most nervous and apprehensive of dental patients to experience comfort during their visits and return to receive the treatment that they’ve put off for extended amounts of time. There are typically two types of sleep dentistry that are available to dental patients who want to be able to have sedation services during their appointments.

Oral Anesthesia

Oral anesthesia is done by having patients take a sedative medication approximately one hour prior to their scheduled appointment time. You will need to be escorted to and from the office by a friend. If the sedative is not strong enough then you will be given an additional dosage at the time of the appointment. This medication causes patients to enter into a light sleep, but they can still respond to staff if nudged or asked a question. The patient however, will most likely not remember anything about the appointment or even answering questions. Oral anesthesia wears off a couple of hours after the treatment after the patient has been returned home.

General Anesthesia

Patients that choose general anesthesia are sedated using IV medication delivered at the time of the appointment. Within just a few minutes the patient is completely sedated. Appointment times can vary with general anesthesia, so it can be used for shorter visits or for completing all necessary therapy within a single visit. After the treatment is completed the medication is cut off and the patient’s consciousness returns while still in the treatment room. It is still necessary to have someone escort you home after your procedure.

The benefits of sleep dentistry allow every patient to have their needs taken care of!


Hospital Sleep Dentistry

When you are looking for a dentist who is qualified to perform full sedation dentistry, keep in mind that the term “sedation dentistry” covers a very broad range of sedation levels. There are many dentists who offer sedation dentistry, but only a few specially trained dentists offer true full sedation dentistry.  Full sedation dentistry is often referred to as hospital sleep dentistry because most dentists perform full sedation dentistry in a specially equipped hospital surgical suite.

Dentists use varying levels of sedation to provide a comfortable, safe dental experience to their patients.  Sedation dentistry includes very mild sedation such as nitrous oxide or laughing gas.  A deeper level of conscious sedation can be achieved with oral or intravenous sedatives.  At this level of sedation, the patient is conscious but in in a relaxed, dream-like state.  Many dentists have the training and experience to safely perform conscious sedation.

Full unconscious sedation dentistry is a highly specialized field of dentistry.  Only dentists who have received extensive training are qualified to perform dentistry on patients who are fully sedated.  These procedures take place in a hospital operating room or surgical suite with the assistance of surgical nurses and an anesthesiologist.

There are many dental patients who can benefit from hospital sleep dentistry.  In fact, there are some patients who cannot safely receive the dental care they need any other way. These include patients who are unable to get numb with regular anesthesia, those with severe gag reflex, and patients suffering from dental phobia.  In addition, hospital sleep dentistry is an excellent alternative for patients with physical, emotional, or developmental disabilities who cannot tolerate dental care in a traditional setting.


Most Popular

Tori, Exostosis, and Extra Bone Formation in the Mouth

A fairly common occurrence in the mouth is the existence of extra bone development along the outside or inside of the jawline near the teeth, or in the roof of…

Difference Between Conscious and Unconscious Sedation

Sedation dentistry is a wonderful option for many people who would not or cannot tolerate dentistry in a traditional dental setting.   Many people have a fear of visiting the dentist,…

Lingual Frenectomy versus Lingual Frenuloplasty

Lingual frenectomy and lingual frenuloplasty are both dental procedures used to correct a condition called ankyloglossia. Ankylogloassia, more commonly known as ‘tied tongue’, is an abnormality of the lingual frenulum….