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


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