Will My Dental Procedure Use Anesthesia?

If you’ve visited the dentist lately and have been told that you need a dental procedure, you may be wondering if anesthesia is required. There are many factors involved in determining whether or not you’ll need to be anesthetized and do what degree. Here’s a rundown of the basics methods of anesthesia and the cases in which they’re typically used.

Local Anesthetic

Novocain is the popular brand name of a drug generically called procaine, which is one of the most common local anesthetics. In this case, you remain totally conscious throughout the procedure and the anesthetic only affects the (local) area where the procedure is performed. A local anesthetic is used in conjunction with other methods of anesthesia in all oral surgery procedures, but is often used alone for simple procedures, such as tooth extractions.

Nitrous Oxide

Commonly known as laughing gas, the actual substance is a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen that’s administered through a mask. During this type of anesthesia, you typically remain conscious, but you’re sedated, and for the first time in your life, your dentist’s jokes are funny. The nitrous oxide also controls the level of pain that you experience. This method is often used for wisdom tooth extraction and placement of dental implants.

Intravenous Anesthesia (In-Office)

In this case, the anesthesia is administered through an intravenous line. You fall asleep and are completely unaware of the procedure being performed. You’re also administered supplemental oxygen through a mask and your vital signs are closely monitored throughout the surgery. Sometimes, patients elect this type of anesthesia when their anxiety over the procedure is really high.

Hospital-Based Surgery

This is when the patient is admitted to a hospital or surgery center, typically for more extensive procedures, such as jaw reconstruction and TMJ surgery. It’s also indicated for dental patients with heart or lung conditions. In this case, the anesthesia is administered by an anesthesiologist.

Your safety and comfort is our first priority when it comes to anesthesia. If you have an upcoming procedure and you have concerns about anesthesia, discuss them with your Tempe family dentist.