What Kind of Anesthesia Can I Receive In-Office?

Oral Surgery Anesthesia Options

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.

Nitrous Oxide

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.

Sedation Analgesia

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.

General Anesthesia

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!

1 https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/dont-fear-the-dentist#1

 

What’s the Deal with Dry Socket?

dry socket When you have a painful, troublesome tooth, one of the frequently-suggested treatment options is extraction by an oral surgeon. Following the extraction, you might expect some discomfort, stinging or headaches. However, if the pain is just too much after a few days of recovery, it may be a sign of lingering dry socket.

You may have been warned numerous times about preventing dry socket, but knowing what it’s called isn’t necessarily the same as knowing when something’s wrong. Read on to learn how to recognize the symptoms of dry socket and how to treat it.

What Is Dry Socket?

According to a study conducted at the Al-Quds University Dental Teaching Center, dry socket only affected 3.2 percent of their study participants following an extraction.1 However, dry socket can prove quite painful and disruptive to the healing process, so it’s important patients are vigilant during recovery.

Following a tooth extraction, the remaining pit, or socket, where the tooth used to be is vulnerable to bacteria, temperature changes and further damage. Your body creates a blood clot inside the socket to protect the bone and nerves from bacterial infection and pain and to promote healing. Occasionally, though, the blood clot becomes dislodged, dissolves or never forms at all. This is the condition known as dry socket.

How Do I Know I Have Dry Socket?

Dry socket is most commonly characterized by intense pain that may affect your extraction site, jaw or ear. Depending on the extent of your extraction, though, it can be hard to determine if the pain you feel is a symptom of dry socket or is just a side effect of the surgery.

If you notice severe pain, take a look at the socket to determine if you still have a blood clot. You’ll know there is no clot if:

  • The socket looks dry
  • There is no dark red clot
  • You see glimpses of white or yellowish bone

If you notice your breath smells and you have an unpleasant taste in your mouth, you may have dry socket.

How Do I Get Rid of Dry Socket?

Dry socket requires a medical professional’s attention as soon as possible to prevent infection and further discomfort.

Despite the intense pain associated with dry socket, it’s actually quite treatable. Patients can use over-the-counter drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen to relieve pain and headaches. If these aren’t strong enough, your doctor may be able to prescribe a stronger pain reliever.

Your dentist will clean the socket and fill it with a medicated paste or dressing to act as a pseudo-clot and promote healing. The dressing will need to be changed every few days, so expect to return to your doctor’s office frequently. Dentists and surgeons may also prescribe antibiotics for extra assurance that your socket won’t become infected.

At home, be sure to rinse your mouth daily with salt water or a dentist-recommended mouthwash. Abide by your practitioner’s eat, drink and care rules. These may include:

  • No alcohol, caffeinated drinks or hot beverages. Water only.
  • Don’t drink with a straw.
  • Eat soft foods like yogurt and applesauce.
  • No chewing on the socket side of your mouth.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Rinse and brush your teeth very gently.
  • Avoid very hot or very cold foods or beverages.

Enjoy a Beautiful Smile with Greater Louisville Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates

Proper care after a tooth extraction can help ensure you’re recovered and back on your feet as soon as possible. The sooner you heal, the sooner you can actually enjoy your beautiful smile.

At Greater Louisville Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates, we specialize in dental implants and tooth extraction and realignment. Our friendly, experienced professionals will assess your smile, help you determine your dental goals and plan the most effective treatment options for your situation. If you’re ready to transform your smile, contact us online or call 502-459-8012 to schedule your consultation today!

1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3089956/