Advancements in Medicine Section
Derived from Greek and translating to “without sensation,” anesthesia is a medicine that prevents patients from feeling pain during surgeries or other medical procedures. It is frequently used in the world of dentistry and oral surgery and can both limit pain and alleviate feelings of anxiety or fear.
Depending on your procedure or your level of comfort, there are numerous anesthetic options that put you in varied states of relaxation. These range from light sedation, where you will remain awake and alert, to moderate sedation, where you will be conscious but won’t remember the appointment once it’s over, to deep sedation, where you are completely unconscious until the drug wears off or is reversed.
Types of Anesthesia
In the field of dentistry and oral surgery, the anesthetic options available to you include:
Local Anesthesia A local anesthetic is the fastest-acting but mildest sedative option. With it, medication is injected into the problem area to prevent nerves from transmitting pain signals to the brain. With local anesthesia, you are fully aware of what is happening but won’t feel pain at the site.
Nitrous Oxide Also known as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is a sedative gas that is taken before a procedure. Nitrous oxide instantly relaxes you and puts your mind at ease, often even making you feel happy. The gas dulls pain sensations almost entirely, and its effects wear off almost immediately after usage stops.
Oral Conscious Sedation Oral conscious sedation is a form of moderate sedation in which patients take a pill to enter a state of near sleep. During an appointment, you will be able to respond to questions and commands from the dentist but will feel very relaxed. After the drug wears off, you will have little to no memory of the experience.
IV Sedation IV sedation is similar to oral conscious sedation, but it’s delivered through an IV rather than in pill form. This form of sedation is primarily used for patients who have dental fear or phobia.
General Anesthesia This is what you tend to think of when you think of traditional surgical procedures. With general anesthesia, you are fully “knocked out” and will sleep through your surgery completely and have no memory of the procedure.
Benefits for Patients
Anesthetic options allow patients to receive necessary treatment without pain or fear. Your dentist or oral surgeon will recommend an option that is best suited for your case.