We Offer Several Methods of Anesthesia
Patients’ comfort is our priority, and we offer several methods of anesthesia. The anesthesia that we recommend for a patient depends on the nature of the procedure and the patient’s level of apprehension. We encourage patients to express any concerns they may have.
Anesthesia Safety and Training
In order to administer general anesthesia in the office, oral and maxillofacial surgeons must complete a minimum of three months of hospital-based anesthesia training. They then undergo an in-office evaluation by a state dental board examiner, who observes an actual surgical procedure during which general anesthesia is administered. The examiner inspects all monitoring devices and emergency equipment and tests the doctor and the surgical staff’s competence on anesthesia-related emergencies. Upon successful completion of the evaluation, the state dental board issues the doctor a license. This license must be renewed every five years and requires continuing education units.
The patient remains totally conscious throughout the procedure. A local anesthetic (e.g., lidocaine) is administered in the area where the surgery is to be performed. Local anesthetic is used in conjunction with the other methods of anesthesia in all oral surgery procedures.
Local anesthetic is used for minor soft tissue procedures and simple tooth extractions.
Nitrous Oxide Sedation With Local Anesthetic
A mixture of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oxygen is administered through a nasal-breathing apparatus. During the procedure, the patient remains conscious, in a relaxed condition. Nitrous oxide has a sedative and analgesic (pain-controlling) effect.
It is used for simple oral surgery procedures and those that are more involved, such as removal of wisdom teeth and placement of dental implants.
Intravenous Sedation (“Twilight Sedation”)
This type of anesthesia helps patients be comfortable and calm during their dental procedures, alleviates anxiety, and helps them not to remember procedures that may have been uncomfortable. With it, patients can drift in and out of sleep (a “twilight sleep”). The goal is to use as little medication as possible to get the treatment completed. A constant “drip” is maintained via an IV, and at any time, an antidote can be administered to reverse the effects of the medications if necessary. It is considered very safe, much safer than oral sedation.
Twilight sedation is administered and monitored by the doctor, eliminating the expense of having surgery performed in an operating room or surgical facility.
It can be used for simple procedures as well as those that are more involved.
Hospital- or Surgery Center–Based General Anesthesia
With this type of anesthesia, the patient is admitted to a hospital or surgery center and anesthesia is administered by an anesthesiologist.
General anesthesia is indicated for patients undergoing extensive procedures such as face and jaw reconstruction and TMJ surgery, as well as for patients with medical conditions like heart or lung disease.