Several methods of anesthesia are available. The method of anesthesia that is chosen for or by a patient depends upon the nature of the surgical procedure and the patient’s level of apprehension.
A local anesthetic (e.g. lidocaine) is administered in the area to “numb” the area where the surgery is to be performed. This the same process that is used for a filling or other routine dental work. The patient is completely awake and aware throughout the procedure, but does not feel any uncomforable sensations, and can drive himself or herself to and form the appointment. Local anesthetic is used in conjunction with the other methods of anesthesia in all oral surgery procedures.
Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
Nitrous Oxide is a sweet smelling, non irritating, colorless gas which you can breathe. Nitrous Oxide has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. Nitrous oxide is safe; as the patient receives combination of oxygen and nitrous oxide. Patients are able to breathe on their own and remain in control of all bodily functions. The patient may experience mild amnesia and may fall asleep not remembering all of what happened during their appointment.
There are many advantages to using Nitrous Oxide
- The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation.
- There is no after effect such as a “hangover”.
- Inhalation sedation is safe with no side effects on your heart and lungs, etc.
- Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging.
- It works rapidly as it reaches the brain within 20 seconds. In as few as 2-3 minutes its relaxation and pain killing properties develop.
- Patients do not need to fast, and can drive themselves to and from appointments.
Oral Sedation is taking an oral anti-anxiety pill, such as Valium or a similar medication, prior to your appointment. While the pill form rarely causes patients to sleep during the procedure, it can drastically reduce anxiety. It also has an amnesic effect causing many patients to forget much or all of the procedure. A light meal is often allowable with oral sedation, however, patients must have an escort to drive them home from the appointment. Oral Sedation is often used in combination with Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas) to increase effects.
Intravenous Sedation (“Twilight Sedation”)
Our office offers our patients the option of Intravenous Sedation for their dental treatment. Intravenous Sedation or “twilight sleep” helps you to be comfortable and calm when undergoing dental procedures. Sedation involves delivery of medication through an IV to help you “sleep” through the appointment. While most patients do actually fall asleep for the appointment, you are able to respond to verbal commands, you continue to breathe on your own, and your protective reflexes remain intact. In addition to helping you sleep, the medication creates amnesia such that most patients have no memory of the procedure. The procedure is performed in the office setting, and we will discuss specific instructions with you at your consultation appointment. Please also review our pre-sedation instructions.