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Different Types Of Sedation At A Durham Dentist


Dentists use different types of anesthetics to relieve the pain and discomfort that often accompany the different procedures that they perform. They may also use sedation on patients who have a dental phobia or fear of the dentist making it difficult to treat them.

1. Topical Anesthetics

These are basically creams or gels that are placed directly on the gums, cheeks and tongue to numb the area. Normally these are only used for simple procedures or to numb a location for an injection. The numbing sensation should last only a few minutes.

2. Injectible Anesthetics

These are also called local anesthetics and are injected directly into the gums, palate and other areas in the mouth to dull or deaden all sensation in the area. Injections are commonly used in most dental procedures and the numbing sensation lasts a few hours.

3. Nitrous Oxide

Also called Happy Gas, Nitrous Oxide is the traditional anesthetic used by dentists to calm and relax patients or induce a mild state of sedation. In other words, a patient may fall asleep under Nitrous Oxide. However, this option is being used by fewer dentists due to the side effects and risk factors associated with the gas. There are also other, better options available.

4. Twilight Sedation

This is also called conscious sedation as it does not induce a total state of unconsciousness even though a patient may sleep throughout a procedure. The patient should feel no pain and have no memory of the procedure or events even if they were awake and responsive. This is often the preferred choice for sedation dentists as it is ideal for short procedures and does not have the same short and long term side effects as general anesthesia.

However, this type of sedation cannot be administered by a dentist and will require an anesthetist to provide the sedation as well as monitor the patient while under sedation. The sedation as well as the cost of the anesthetist will come at an additional expense. Conscious sedation can be administered in the dentist’s rooms.

5. General Anesthetic

General anesthetic induces a total state of unconsciousness where the patient is totally unaware of their surroundings or what is happening. They cannot be awoken from the anesthesia until the sedation is discontinued and a period of time has passed. This type of anesthesia can only be administered by a qualified anesthetist or anesthesiologist who will also monitor the patient during and after the procedure.

General anesthetic is only used in complicated or extreme dental procedures or surgery that may need to be performed in a dental clinic or hospital setting. The risks associated with this type of anesthesia are high and the side effects can be mild or severe and last a few weeks to months after the procedure. This is often the last resort for dentists and doctors when performing certain medical or dental procedures.

It is important to discuss the different sedation and anesthetic options available with your dentist to ensure that you are calm and comfortable during a procedure.