What is Dental Anesthesiology?

Having Anesthesia/Sedation for Dental Procedures

It is common for many patients to feel nervous or anxious about their dental procedure.

Your dentist has advanced training in ways to help with your anxiety which may include other medications to make you feel more comfortable. By having a more relaxed patient your dentist may be able to complete more of your dentistry in one appointment. In other cases, a more relaxed patient may be safer for them as well as being more relaxed. The information below will address the most commonly asked questions regarding anesthesia. The decisions of which type of sedation/anesthesia will be determined by you in consultation with your doctor.

What is Sedation and Anesthesia?

During dental and oral surgical procedures local anesthesia (Novocain) is administered to block painful sensations. However, the anxiety that many people experience can be eliminated by administering sedative drugs, such as Valium type medications. A sedated patient may remember and be aware of the procedures, but will be more relaxed and comfortable. Additional medications, such as agents similar to pentothal and inhaled gases, are sometimes used to provide general anesthesia, which places the patient more deeply asleep. In this state the patient has no awareness or memory of the procedure.

How is the Medication Administered?

The sedative and anesthetic medications are typically given intravenously (IV). Since the effects are so rapid by this means of administration, your doctor can precisely give the correct amounts of the medications to make you relaxed and comfortable. Also, if more medications are needed during the procedure, the IV allows easy administration of additional medications. IV administration also means the patient will awaken very quickly.

How am I Monitored During the Procedure?

Depending on the depth of the sedation and anesthetic being used, as well as your own medical condition, various monitors are used. These vary from ventilatory monitors, such as precordial stethoscopes and capnometers, to pulse oximeters which measure the oxygen concentration in your blood. An automatic blood pressure monitor and EKG are also required. The doctor along with at least one or two life support and anesthesia trained staff members will always be with you and closely observing you throughout your treatment.

Is Anesthesia Safe?

The use of sedation and anesthesia in dentistry has a commendable record of safety. This is due to the advanced training your doctor has and his/her commitment to your overall health. It is important to advise your doctor of all medications that you take as well as any changes in your health since your last visit.

In Florida a special permit is required to administer intravenous medications. In order to qualify your doctor had to provide evidence of advanced training in anesthesia and often a site inspection is required. The ability to handle emergency situations as well as having specific emergency medications and equipment is also mandatory.

What is the FDSA?

The Florida Dental Society of Anesthesiology is a group of dentists who are committed to the task of making dental care more pleasant through a variety of advanced pain and anxiety control techniques. Membership in this organization is evidence of his/her concern for your comfort and health.