Different Types of Anesthesia: What’s Best for You?
Posted by Dr. Julie Boudreault On 7-11-2019
Visiting your dentist regularly can reduce the risk of a myriad of oral complications. Sometimes, a dentist visit uncovers a current tooth or gum problem requiring treatment. Many dental procedures are quick and painless, but sometimes anesthetic is required to numb any pain, reduce anxiety, and promote a more relaxed visit.
Choosing the anesthetic type best suited to your condition is up to you and your dentist. Some procedures require a deep sleep to remove the risk of movement and pain as your dentist works. Others simply alleviate nerves and provide comfort during less invasive tasks. Some reasons patients request anesthesia or sedation include:
Anxiety – Some patients experience anxiety at the dentist because of past experiences, the unknown, or general nervousness. Anxiety is a common symptom prior to a dental procedure, and most dentists are very comfortable working with patients to ease these feelings during the appointment. One way to minimize anxiety and increase relaxation is through anesthesia.
Extreme Fear – When anxiety becomes something far more severe, it turns into fear. Fear of the dentist can be detrimental to your oral health. At Milltown Dental, we want every patient to feel safe and comfortable in our office. Sometimes, a mild form of anesthesia helps reduce symptoms of fear, while more extreme cases call for sedation.
Pain Alleviation – One reason patients feel anxious before visiting the dentist is the implication of impending pain. Some procedures cause mild to severe discomfort. When this is the case, your dentist will use topical or general anesthetics to numb the area before work commences.
At Milltown Dental, we often receive questions about the anesthetic we use, and which anesthetic type best fits a given procedure. To help shed some light on the subject, we’ve compiled a list of the common anesthetics we use so you can better understand them.
For dental patients who require minor oral surgery, such as an extraction or root canal, local anesthesia is used to numb the mouth. It is the most common method of anesthesia delivery. Because you’re unable to speak for yourself while under the influence of the medication, your dentist will closely monitor your breathing. They will also look for other signs to ensure you’re safe and that the dosage doesn’t wear off before the end of treatment.
This anesthetic type best complements oral surgeries and other procedures. Because you are conscious throughout the procedure, it can be completed quickly, and you do not need to stay overnight. When the dentist is finished, local anesthesia naturally dissipates over the course of a few hours. Side effects include grogginess and dizziness, which passes quickly.
Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide reduces pain by blocking signals sent from the mouth to the brain. It also reduces anxiety, calming patients who are uneasy being in the dentist’s chair. The gas is fast-acting, creating an instantaneous feeling of euphoria and positivity. Nitrous oxide is extremely safe and commonly used in dental offices across Canada.
Safe for patients of any age, your dentist will apply the nitrous oxide through a mask placed over the nose and mouth. The dosage is carefully determined prior to your procedure and is monitored closely for potential problems. Gas is administered as you naturally breathe in and out until it takes effect. Your dentist will wait until the anesthetic is working to begin treatment.
The mask remains on during treatment, as removal causes the effects to ease off right away. When your dentist completes a scheduled procedure, he or she will remove the mask and wait until you can stand to dismiss you. Patients require a friend or family member to be present before they can leave the dental office to ensure you arrive home safely.
Who Should You Use Anesthesia?
Not every visit to the dentist warrants anesthesia, unless you’re a nervous patient. In the case of mild to severe fear and anxiety, your dentist may wish to use nitrous oxide to best fit your symptoms. Patients undergoing procedures, such as tooth extraction or root canal will require local anesthesia to numb the area.
While dental anesthesia is considered safe for people of varying ages and medical conditions, it’s important to let your dentist know of any health concerns you may have prior to application. If you’re concerned that current prescriptions or diagnosis will be affected by anesthesia, speak to your doctor first.
If you have questions regarding anesthetics and their use, contact us at 1-905-878-8528. Dr. Julie at Milltown Dental works closely with her patients to ensure the highest level of care at every appointment. Our office is always happy to answer questions and meet with new patients to explore new care plans. You can also visit us online to see other available dentistry services.