Research suggests that more than 30 percent of adults fear visiting the dentist. This lingering fear prevents them from getting good oral care, resulting in cavities and other problems. Regular dental checkups and cleaning can affect not just oral health but also overall health. While many dental procedures are simple, some patients require oral surgery. Anesthesia helps ease the anxiety associated with pain.
People who experience anxiety during dental procedures can benefit from sedation dentistry. It is a level of sedation where the patient is awake but remains calm. Also known as conscious sedation, it creates a state of amnesia where the patient experiences temporary insensitivity.
The procedure does not lead to loss of consciousness, making it ideal for most patients, including children. Dentists recommend it for people who experience anxiety, fear of visiting dentists, extreme teeth sensitivity, and severe gag reflex.
Local anesthesia is administered during routine dental procedures such as treating cavities. It takes a few minutes to work, depending on where it is applied. The back teeth usually take longer to numb than the front teeth. A topical numbing agent is usually applied before administering the anesthesia.
Local anesthesia is safe, with the biggest risk being allergies. Some patients experience adverse reactions, such as swelling, itching, or hives. Sometimes, a patient may experience breathing problems, requiring emergency care.
The dentist may recommend laughing gas for people who experience dental anxiety and fear needles. Breathing in the laughing gas produces an anesthetizing effect within a few minutes. The mix of oxygen and nitrous oxide leaves the patient calm and awake with no pain.
Patients usually experience a floating or tingling sensation. Adverse reactions are rare, but patients are advised not to eat just before the procedure. It reduces the risk of vomiting. The gas wears off three to five minutes after taking off the mask.
The dentist may recommend general anesthesia (GA) if you require oral surgery. Commonly referred to as being put to sleep, GA is usually reserved for complicated procedures. Patients who need dental implants or wisdom teeth removal get GA.
It is also used on patients who cannot sit still, such as those with disabilities, overly anxious patients, and children. The anesthesia is administered through IV or via a face mask. It renders the patient unconscious and is considered riskier than sedation and local anesthesia.
Risks of General Anesthesia
Most people do not experience complications with local anesthesia. There are risks associated with general anesthesia, especially for patients with existing health conditions. Risks include:
· Nerve damage.
· Allergic reactions.
· Breathing difficulties.
· Stroke or heart failure.
Anesthesia is administered differently depending on the patient’s overall health, age, anxiety level, and preference. The complexity and length of the procedure will determine the choice of anesthesia. The patient’s breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate are monitored during deep sedation or under general anesthesia.
For more about dentists and oral surgery, visit Weston Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at our Weston, Florida office. Call (954) 507-6441 to schedule an appointment today.