While the use of a local anesthetic to prevent pain is sufficient for many dental patients, sedation or general anesthesia may be appropriate to ensure the safe, efficient and competent delivery of dental procedures.
Sedation or general anesthesia is determined on a case-by-case basis and may be recommended for patients that:
Dental patients often don’t realize that dental procedures are surgical and as with all surgery, there is some degree of risk. Sedation and general anesthesia are safely and effectively used for thousands of dental procedures each year. What can patients do?
If you have any questions about your dental treatment, or the level of sedation recommended, talk to your dentist before your treatment.
Depending on the level of sedation, it can be completely normal to feel drowsy and have limited recollection of your appointment.
For all types of sedation, mild, moderate, deep sedation or general anesthetic, it is expected that your coordination and reasoning skills may be impacted for up to 24 hours following treatment. Your dental office will request that you have a friend or family member pick you up from the appointment, and that you not drive.
Talk to your dentist before treatment about any expected side-effects for the level of sedation that you will have.
The most common form of sedation in dentistry is the use of minimal sedation, such as nitrous oxide (by inhaling through a mask) or taking a sedative, such as Ativan, to relax the patient. Nitrous oxide is provided in conjunction with oxygen. It enables a patient to maintain consciousness in a sedated state. As the level of sedation increases it may be used in conjunction with other medications to temporarily increase its effectiveness, and may cause a little drowsiness.
Review the complete FAQ on Sedation and General Anesthesia.