Anesthesia Options

Today’s advanced dentistry includes many options to suit the needs of each patient. A great example of this is anesthesia. Not only have some cutting edge dental surgery techniques greatly reduced or even eliminated the need for anesthesia, but when anesthesia is required or desired, there are many different options to choose from.

If you anticipate having a future dental procedure that will require anesthesia or you just want to learn more about your anesthesia options, you will find that this page has lots of helpful information.

Methods of Administering Anesthesia

The strength of the anesthesia typically relates to the estimated invasiveness or potential pain of the procedure. It can also relate to how anxious or stressed a patient may be during a procedure.

Because dental procedures will proceed most smoothly when the patient is able to remain calm and still, this can influence what method of anesthesia administration your dentist recommends. In many cases, the patient is able to choose the method of administration. But in some cases, the procedure itself may dictate a particular method that is most conducive to the best possible outcome.

Here is a list of general anesthesia administration methods:

  • Local. Local anesthetic, as its name suggests, involves numbing just a small area on the body. Sometimes a local numbing agent is applied with a swab first, which numbs the area that will receive an injection. Once the skin is numb, the injection is given to a numb a slightly greater area. This is the best way to ensure a patient’s comfort when receiving local anesthesia.
  • General. General anesthesia involves a different method of sedation that puts the patient into a sleep-type state during the procedure. For this reason, general anesthesia has earned the nickname “sleep anesthesia.” General anesthesia can be used for both outpatient (day) and hospital surgery (day or overnight).
  • IV “Twilight.” Twilight anesthesia is yet another method that is often used in dental surgery. Sometimes described as the mid-point between local and general anesthesia, twilight sedation ensures the patient will be calm and relaxed even if they do not totally fall asleep. Typically this type of anesthesia is given via an IV.
  • Nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is nicknamed “laughing gas” not because it necessarily makes patients laugh, but because inhaling this gas can cause euphoria. Nitrous oxide is often combined with local anesthetic to minimize any stress or anxiety a patient may be feeling about a dental procedure. The gas is inhaled throughout the procedure both to induce relaxation and to inhibit any pain. The gas wears off very quickly so it is a good choice of anesthetic for outpatient dental surgery.

Your dentist will be able to recommend the best anesthesia methods for the type of dental procedure you are having. If you are feeling especially anxious or stressed out about a procedure, be sure to talk with your dentist about any additional anesthesia options that may help you stay as calm and relaxed as possible during your surgery.

Types of Anesthesia

Dentists today have many options for anesthetic medications. However, there are some industry standards that are used more frequently in dental surgery as follows:

  • Local anesthetic. Lidocaine is currently the anesthesia of choice for local anesthetic.
  • General anesthetic. Fentanyl, Versed, Ketamine and Diprivan are all popular choices for general anesthetic, either in their name brand or generic forms. All are administered with oxygen through an IV.
  • Twilight anesthetic. The same medications used in general anesthetic can be used for twilight anesthetic with adjusted doses through an IV.
  • Nitrous oxide. Laughing gas administered in equal parts with oxygen through a breathing mask can be administered as a form of twilight anesthetic as an alternative to an IV.

How to Know Which Anesthesia Option to Choose

Different patients can respond to anesthesia in different ways. This includes medication types, administration methods (IV, inhalation, injection) and dosages. Some patients may have an unusually high tolerance for or resistance to numbing medications, which may mean a different method of administration or a higher dose may be indicated.

The best way to decide on the right anesthetic option is to talk with your dentist before your procedure. Be sure to address each of the following areas:

  • Your past medical history.
  • Your pain tolerance.
  • Any medication allergies.
  • Any incidents of resistance to anesthesia or numbing agents.
  • Your relative level of anxiety/stress regarding the procedure.

Contact Boynton Laser Dental Today

Boynton Laser Dental Center offers the latest cutting-edge laser dental technology to patients in the South Florida and surrounding areas. Contact us today at 561-737-6400 or online at www.boyntonlaserdental.com.