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Dr. Cox is well trained and experienced in anesthesia. Depending on your needs and requirements of the procedure, he can offer you different methods of anesthesia to help make you comfortable.
Local Anesthesia (Novocaine)
This is done to make the area where we are working "numb." There should be no pain. Most oral surgery can be done with this type of anesthetic. Occasionally a patient will require more anesthetic and that can be given if appropriate. You may drive yourself home after your local anesthetic procedure. You do not need an empty stomach for this type of procedure and we suggest that your have a normal breakfast that morning.
Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)
Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” is used as a mild sedative. It is delivered through a nose hood, and is administered throughout the entire procedure. Nitrous oxide elevates the general mood and can evoke a general sense of well-being. Most importantly, it relieves anxiety and reduces pain during the procedure. In addition, some tingling and numbness may be felt. There are few side effects associated with nitrous oxide, and it has been safely used in dentistry for many years.
Intravenous (IV) Sedation and General Anesthesia
A small intravenous catheter is placed and medications are given that will make you relaxed or asleep depending on your needs. Patients who have previously experienced IV sedation often report feeling like they slept through the entire procedure. This technique works very well for the majority of our procedures and is an excellent choice for more involved procedures and for those patients who are nervous. Sometimes patients feel groggy and sleepy when the IV sedatives are withdrawn. This is why it is important to bring a designated driver for the drive home.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral conscious sedation is an excellent choice for people who fear needles. Oral medication is provided prior to treatment in order to induce a moderate state of sedation. Though oral sedatives do not cause sleep, they usually dull the senses. This means that most patients cannot remember the pain, smells or noises associated with the procedure. Usually, a dose of medication is taken prior to the appointment, and then topped up during the procedure as required.
What types of drugs are used in oral conscious sedation?
Most of the drugs used in sedation dentistry are classified as benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines reduce anxiety, muscle spasms, insomnia and seizures. Each medication has a different half-life, meaning that the effects last for varying amounts of time. The estimated length of the procedure determines which type of drug is going to be most effective.
Here are some of the most common drugs used in oral conscious sedation:
Valium® – This sedative has amnesic properties and a long half-life. It is usually used for time-consuming, complex procedures.
Halcion® – Usually used to treat insomnia, Halcion is an effective sedative with amnesic properties. A short half-life makes this sedative useful for shorter procedures.
Ativan® – This sedative is best known for reducing anxiety. It has amnesic properties and a medium half-life. Ativan is typically used for treatments shorter than two hours.
Versed® – This sedative has the shortest half-life and is therefore less commonly used. It alleviates anxiety in much the same way as nitrous oxide, and is used for visits that will take less than 30 minutes.
If you have questions or concerns about anesthesia, please contact our office.