For many dental procedures, a shot of local anesthetic is all that’s needed to prevent discomfort. But there are some procedures — including many types of oral surgery — when deeper anesthesia is a better choice.
Brandon Kang, DDS, and the team at Pacific Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Center in Oakland and San Francisco, California, offer anesthesia administered by medical practitioners who are licensed in anesthesiology, so you can feel confident you’re getting the best care. Read on to see when Dr. Kang might recommend anesthesia for your dental procedure.
How anesthesia works
Anesthesia comes from two Greek words that mean “without sensation,” and that’s what anesthesia does. It blocks painful sensations during oral surgery and other medical procedures. Local anesthetics, like lidocaine injections, are often used to block pain during fillings and other simple dental work.
Stronger sedative anesthetics, like the ones we use for more complex oral surgery procedures, are delivered directly to your bloodstream via an IV. These medicines block pain and help you doze during your procedure. Some milder sedatives are administered as pills prior to your treatment.
While general anesthesia puts you into a deep sleep, IV sedation isn’t quite as strong. You’ll nap during your procedure, but you’ll still respond to verbal commands like “open wider.” After your procedure, you’ll have no memory of the surgery.
When anesthesia is recommended
As noted, local anesthesia (delivered via a needle to your gums) is often used for fillings or for very deep cleanings. It can also be administered during a crown fitting to avoid nerve irritation.
Topical anesthetics are used prior to receiving a needle, and they can also be used to numb the gums before a cleaning if you’re especially anxious. Oral sedatives can be a good choice for patients with a moderate level of dental anxiety, and they can be combined with topical or local anesthetics, as well.
Deeper anesthesia is generally reserved for more complex oral surgeries, including procedures that:
- Involve larger or deeper gum incisions
- Involve the bone (such as impacted wisdom tooth removal)
- Last more than a couple of hours
- Require multiple visits
Anesthesia can also be an appropriate choice for:
- People with severe dental anxiety
- Dental problems that are causing significant pain
- Special needs patients
Dr. Kang has a general anesthesia license. For less time-consuming procedures, like wisdom teeth removal or implant placement, he’ll administer the IV during the procedure.
For more complex or longer procedures, a licensed anesthesiologist will administer the sedative and anesthesia. In all cases, you’ll be closely monitored throughout your treatment to ensure you stay safe and comfortable.
Your comfort is paramount
Dr. Kang and his team know dental visits can be nerve-racking, especially when oral surgery is involved. Anesthesia delivered by licensed professionals is one more way Pacific Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery strives to provide our patients with the most advanced care for your continued oral health.
To learn more about the anesthesia options we offer, call Dr. Kang’s office location that’s most convenient to you or book an appointment online today.