At the most basic level a local anesthetic is used to prevent pain. Applied directly to the treatment site, used on its own it will not alter consciousness. Sedation in conjunction with anesthetic medications is used to relieve pain or to relax and calm a patient in preparation for a dental procedure.
This section provides information on the use of sedation and general anesthesia in dentistry. You can also review a complete list of frequently asked questions related to sedation and general anesthesia.
Various levels of sedation may be used for dental procedures. The level of sedation ranges from mild sedation to general anesthesia (which affects the whole body to varying degrees).
Whether or not sedation is used for your specific procedure, as well as the type of sedation recommended, will depend on a few factors: the nature of your treatment; your level of anxiety; and your overall health and medical history. Discuss the sedation options with your dentist to make an informed decision for your health.
Also, learn more about the use of sedation and general anesthesia in treating children.