Anesthesia vs Sedation Dentistry

Dental procedures can be scary, no matter your age. However, technological advances in dentistry have made patient comfort a priority. Dentists want to make sure their patients are at ease and without pain. They have several tools to accomplish this, including anesthesia and sedation. But how do they work? Dr. Dhara Patel, a dentist in Hoffman Estates, IL, describes the differences between sedation dentistry and anesthesia.sedation dentistry hoffman estates il

Local anesthesia

Your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb a section of your mouth before a dental procedure. This medication blocks the nerves that sense pain in a specified area and numbs the tissue. Local anesthesia is given through an injection into this nerve. A dentist will often apply topical anesthesia to the area before the injection so that the spot will be numb for the shot as well. This medication is commonly used for smaller dental work, such as filling cavities. The numbness wears off within a few hours. With local anesthesia, the patient can be free from pain throughout their dental procedure.

Sedation levels

Sedation dentistry can be used for patients experiencing anxiety during their dental appointment. Nitrous oxide, often referred to as laughing gas, is a sedation technique administered through a nasal mask. As the patient breathes the gas, they are calmed and pain-free while remaining conscious. This technique can be given to patients with dental fear during most procedures. There are several levels of sedation available that will provide patients with different states of awareness while in use:

  • Minimal sedation: relaxes the patient while they remain fully aware
  • Moderate sedation: patient is sleepy but conscious
  • Deep sedation: patient is barely awake throughout the procedure

Following the procedure, the patient is given 100% oxygen through the mask to flush the nitrous oxide from their system. The patient can function normally, including driving a vehicle, once this is done.

General anesthesia

General anesthesia is used for patients who need to be unconscious during a surgical procedure. This medication is usually administered through an IV. Dentists rarely use general anesthesia because sedation is effective with most patients. In cases of severe anxiety in a patient or a particularly difficult procedure, a dentist may choose this method. Patients may feel groggy for a while after waking from general anesthesia. It is recommended that these patients have someone else take them home.

Sedation dentistry options in Hoffman Estates, IL

Sedation dentistry is one of the general dental services we offer at Best Dental Spa in Hoffman Estates, IL. Dr. Patel and our other dentists also specialize in cosmetic and restorative dentistry. To schedule an appointment with us, contact our office online or by phone at 847.660.6603.