When Do Dentists Prefer Sedation Over General Anesthesia?

When Do Dentists Prefer Sedation Over General Anesthesia?

October 1, 2022

Some people have anxiety or fear of going to the dentist, while others have sensitive teeth or gums. Sometimes, sedation may be the best choice for people with difficulty getting numb during dental procedures.

What is Sedation?

Sedation is a general term used to describe medication to help make a medical procedure more tolerable. It can range from minimal sedation, where you remain awake but relaxed, to deep sedation, where you are on the brink of unconsciousness. General anesthesia is deep sedation that results in unconsciousness.

If you fear needles or dental procedures, sedation can help you relax and feel more comfortable during treatment. Sedation is also ideal for a sensitive gag reflex or tends to move around during dental procedures.

Certain medical conditions like heart conditions may also warrant using sedation over general anesthesia. The same is true if you have respiratory issues or are pregnant.

Ultimately, deciding to use sedation or general anesthesia will be up to your dentist in Clearwater.

What is General Anesthesia?

General anesthesia is a type of anesthesia that numbs the entire body and puts you to sleep. This is opposed to local anesthesia, which only numbs a small area. General anesthesia is used for major surgery, such as open heart surgery or brain surgery. The dentist may prefer sedation over general anesthesia for less invasive procedures, such as fillings or extractions.

How Long Does a Dental Procedure Take with General Anesthesia?

Dental procedures performed under general anesthesia typically take longer than those done with sedation. This is because the patient is completely asleep and cannot cooperate with the dentist. In some cases, the dentist may need extra time to ensure that the patient is comfortable and not in pain.

When Does a Dentist Prefer Sedation Over General Anesthesia?

There are a few key reasons your dentist might recommend sedation dentistry near you:

  1. Sedation is much safer than general anesthesia, primarily when used in small doses.
  2. Sedation can be more easily controlled than general anesthesia, meaning that your dentist can better ensure you remain comfortable throughout the procedure.
  3. Sedation typically wears off much faster than general anesthesia, so you can expect to return to your normal self in no time.

The necessity of sedation dentistry will vary from patient to patient. However, dentists generally agree that sedation is the better choice when a patient is particularly anxious about dental procedures, has a strong gag reflex, or is undergoing a lengthy or complex procedure. In these cases, sedation can help the patient to relax and make the experience more tolerable.

What Are the Types of Sedation and General Anesthesia?

There are a few different types of sedation dentistry that dentists can use on their patients. The level of sedation will be determined by the procedure being performed and the patient’s level of anxiety. For some procedures, general anesthesia may be the best option.

Some of the more common types of sedation used by dentists include:

  • Inhaled minimal sedation

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is inhaled through a mask over the nose. The gas helps to relax patients and can make them feel lightheaded.

  • Oral sedation

This type of sedation uses medication that is taken by mouth. The medication can range from a pill that makes the patient drowsy to a pill that puts them to sleep.

  • IV moderate sedation

This type of sedation involves the administration of medication through an IV. The medication goes directly into the bloodstream and can help to relax patients quickly.

  • General anesthesia

This type of anesthesia is used for more invasive procedures. It involves putting the patient to sleep using medication administered through an IV.

When Does The Dentist Use Dental Sedation?

Dental sedation is a type of medical procedure that is used to help patients relax during dental procedures. For some procedures, a local anesthetic may be all that is needed to help the patient relax. However, for other procedures, such as wisdom teeth removal, the dentist may prefer to use general anesthesia.

Schedule an Appointment

Visit Sunset Point Dental for more information about sedation dentistry and what you can expect.

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