What to Expect from General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is a combination of drugs that keep you unconscious. They are useful when a patient is about to undergo surgery or other painful procedures. When under anesthesia, a patient cannot feel pain from being entirely unconscious. 

Usually, anesthesia utilizes a combination of IV and inhaled anesthetics. In addition, general anesthesia is more than being asleep—it is the state where the brain does not respond to reflexes or pain signals. 

General Anesthesia and Dentistry

Dentists use a local anesthetic to prevent pain in a dental patient. However, the patient may require general anesthesia to ensure that the dental procedure is safe. General anesthesia is determined depending on the case at hand. Oral surgeons may recommend it if:

  • A patient experiences intense anxiety due to low pain tolerance or fear. Dentists can use it to address dental phobias.

  • A patient is allergic to local anesthetics, or local drugs are ineffective in controlling pain.

  • A patient will receive invasive dental procedures that need repeat visits if performed without anesthesia. For example, in dental implants through surgery or removal of wisdom teeth.

  • A patient with an exaggerated gag effect (or choking sensation) because it is a challenge to keep their mouth open for a long time.

  • A patient with a physical or mental disability that makes it difficult to stay still during the procedure.

  • A patient with special medical requirements.

Risks Associated with General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is relatively safe for all people. Despite having significant health conditions, most patients can undergo general anesthesia without issues. Complications are more closely linked to the type of procedure and the type of anesthesia is unlikely to cause any difficulties.

However, older adults or patients with severe medical conditions may risk some side effects. These are pneumonia, post-op confusion, heart attack or even stroke. Specific situations that significantly increase your risk of complications are:

  • Seizure

  • Smoking

  • Obesity

  • Obstructive sleep apnea

  • Diabetes

  • Hypertension

  • Stroke

  • Drugs like aspirin that may increase bleeding

  • Medical conditions that involve your lungs, heart, or kidneys

  • Drug allergies

  • Heavy alcohol use

  • History of reactions to anesthesia

What to Expect in General Anesthesia for Dental Procedures

Before the Procedure

Before going under anesthesia, the anesthesiologist will ask you some questions. They will want to know about your medical history and your medications. They will also ask you about any allergies and experience with anesthesia. This information will help them choose the medicine that is safe for you.

During the Procedure

Usually, the anesthesiologist administers the drugs through an IV to your veins. Sometimes, you may have a mask to breathe in some gas. Once you’re asleep, the anesthesiologist may opt to place a tube into your mouth, reaching down your windpipe. This is to ensure that you get enough oxygen. They will monitor your vital functions throughout the procedure.

After the Procedure

After the procedure, the anesthesiologist uses medications to wake you up. You might feel confused and a little groggy. You may have some side effects like nausea, dry mouth, and vomiting, among others. The doctors will care to treat your side effects if they are too severe.

For more on what to expect from general anesthesia, visit Weston Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at our office in Weston, Florida. You can also call (954) 507-6441​​​​​​ to schedule an appointment today.

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