When you require a more complex and invasive dental procedure, such as wisdom tooth extraction or dental implants, you’re likely due for a trip to the oral surgeon’s office. For many though, oral surgery is synonymous with discomfort, pain and anxiety. In fact, up to 20 percent of people in the United States suffer from dental anxiety that prevents them from visiting a dental professional until it’s absolutely necessary. Most of these patients cite an unpleasant past visit to their dentist as the main cause of their fear.1 Luckily, there are plenty of quick and easy in-office pain relief and anesthesia options for those who fear the pain or simply can’t stop squirming when they get in the chair.
Commonly called “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is the quintessential dental sedative. The sedative agent is aerosolized, combined with oxygen and administered through a mask before you undergo your treatment. Nitrous oxide isn’t a full anesthetic. It simply relaxes your body and calms your mind while you remain awake. This leaves you open and available to interact with your surgeon or dentist should they ask you questions.
The sensation of being on laughing gas is often described as feeling “heavy.” Many patients feel light-headed or tingly. Although the effects of nitrous oxide are short-lived, it is still recommended you secure a ride home from a friend or family member as your body may still be reacting to the sedative even after your procedure is done.
While most people fear the pain more than anything else when they go in for oral surgery, pain relief alone may not be enough to calm them before and during their procedure. In these cases, dental professionals may opt for sedation analgesia. This sedation technique pairs a pain relieving analgesic that is injected into the surgical site with an IV-delivered sedative to relax you or put you to sleep. Typically, patients only receive moderate sedation in which they feel drowsy or fall asleep during their procedure, but are easily awoken. However, depending on a patient’s level of anxiety, deeper sedation may be required.
If you’ve ever had a major procedure done at a hospital, you likely underwent general anesthesia. Unlike sedation analgesia, general anesthesia puts you to sleep entirely and completely blocks pain signals from reaching your brain, ensuring you remain relaxed and comfortable even during painful procedures. General anesthesia is administered through an IV or mask with no need for a separate analgesic.
If you undergo general anesthesia, you will remain unconscious until the sedative wears off and awaken as though you were coming out of a deep sleep, though some nausea is relatively common. After receiving general anesthesia, you must find someone to drive you home.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Louisville, KY
Dental anxiety shouldn’t keep you from enjoying a healthier, more beautiful smile. With the right anesthesia option and a compassionate, patient dental professional on your side, you can experience peace of mind even during oral surgery.
At Greater Louisville Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates, we’ve been serving the city of Louisville for more than 35 years. We aim to provide a calming, relaxing atmosphere by offering friendly, dedicated guidance through every step of your visit. Contact us online or call (502) 459-8012 to learn more about our sedation options or to schedule an appointment!