Know Your Numb: Laughing Gas vs. GA

When undergoing a complex dental procedure, such as the placement of dental implants or a tooth extraction, the use of sedation or anesthesia is absolutely necessary. Learn more about why it is necessary to use some type of sedation/anesthesia during some dental procedures and discover what type of sedation or anesthesia may be used during your next complex dental procedure.

Why Dentists Choose to Use Sedation or Anesthesia

Many people suffer from severe dental anxiety. Using sedation or some type of anesthesia helps calm these individuals down when they have to undergo certain dental procedures. By calming people down dentists are able to quickly perform complex dental procedures without having to worry about sudden distractions that may be caused by dental anxiety.

Even if a patient doesn’t suffer from dental anxiety sedation or anesthesia is still recommended for complex dental procedures. Sedation or anesthesia is recommended because some complex dental procedures can take a long time. Due to the length of the procedure, some patients may start to feel fatigued and want to instinctively close their mouth. This might not be possible if a dentist is in the middle of a complex procedure.

Using sedation or anesthesia you can relax the patient and help them keep their mouth open for the entire procedure. It can also reduce any involuntary movements, such as flinching or twitching, which may occur during dental procedures. Dentists want to reduce the likelihood that you will perform these involuntary movements as it could cause problems to occur during a dental procedure.

The Different Types of Sedation and Anesthesia

There are several different types of sedation and anesthesia used in the dental industry.

The most common types of sedation and anesthesia are:

  • Nitrous oxide or “laughing” gas
  • Mild sedation is sometimes known as conscious sedation
  • Moderate sedation
  • Deep sedation
  • General anesthesia

The two types of sedation and anesthesia we will focus on are nitrous oxide/laughing gas and general anesthesia. We will focus on these two types of sedation/anesthesia because they are typically the ones patients ask about when having to undergo complex dental procedures.

Learning More about Nitrous Oxide or Laughing Gas

Nitrous oxide is an extremely mild sedative. It can be used for everything from professional cleanings and routine dental exams to tooth extractions and root canals.

Administering nitrous oxide is extremely easy. All you have to do is breathe in the nitrous oxide, which is also mixed in with a little bit of oxygen, to receive its calming benefits. Once it is breathed in, you will start to feel calm and relaxed. The minute you stop breathing it in, the sedative effect starts to slowly wear off and you will quickly return to normal within 10 to 15 minutes.

Some of the benefits of nitrous oxide include:

  • Extremely safe to use
  • Very few side effects occur with this type of sedation
  • No post procedure feelings of dizziness or fatigue
  • Can be administered in office without the need for additional medical professionals, such as an anesthesiologist or nurse
  • Cost-effective
  • Safe for use on patients of all ages
  • No memory of the procedure
  • Patients can still perform simple tasks when asked such as opening their mouth or moving their head

Nitrous oxide does not relieve any pain you may experience. When you are undergoing a dental procedure your dentist will still use Novocain or another anesthetic to prevent you from feeling any pain.

Learning More about General Anesthesia

People often confuse nitrous oxide with general anesthesia because they both sedate you and make you forget the procedure, but they are two different things. General anesthesia is when a person is completely ‘put to sleep’ during a procedure.

General anesthesia is typically not used for routine dental procedures such as cleanings, root canals, or fillings. It is usually reserved for complex and lengthy dental procedures such as extractions or dental implant placement.

Specialized training is needed to administer general anesthesia as there are numerous problems that can occur when it is used. Since specialized training is needed along with specific medical equipment, most general dentists do not offer general anesthesia. If a patient needs it for a procedure, they will often be referred to an oral surgeon.

If you have a need for a complex dental procedure Artistic Touch Dentistry best Cosmetic Dentistry in Melbourne Fl can help you determine what type of sedation and anesthesia you will need. Call our office to schedule an appointment for a consultation with our dentist to discuss your upcoming dental procedure.