Will you need anesthesia for oral surgery? This is a logical thought that occurs to most patients after they are advised that surgery is necessary to remedy their maxillofacial or oral condition. There are several options of anesthesia available to the patient who requires surgery. By discussing the patient’s level of anxiety related to the procedure, the degree of pain management needed, and risks associated with each type of anesthesia, the surgeon and the patient will create a plan individually tailored to the patient’s needs.
Types of Anesthesia and When They are Generally Used
Local anesthesia: A numbing medication is administered in the area where the surgery is to be performed. The medication eliminates sensation and pain in one specific area, yet the patient stays completely awake throughout the procedure. Local anesthesia is generally used for non-complex procedures like basic tooth extractions and minor soft tissue procedures.
Nitrous Oxide Sedation: “Laughing Gas,” or nitrous oxide, is used in conjunction with local anesthesia and delivered through a nasal cannula. The patient stays conscious, yet it very relaxed. Nitrous oxide sedation is often chosen for non-complex wisdom teeth removal and during dental implant placement.
Intravenous Anesthesia: Often referred to as “Twilight Sleep,” Intravenous Anesthesia uses an I.V. (intravenous line) to deliver pain medication and a mild sedative to the patient. This type of anesthesia causes temporary forgetfulness so often patients do not remember any of the procedure. The patient’s vital signs are monitored closely and supplemental oxygen is given. Intravenous Anesthesia is used for complex wisdom teeth and impacted teeth extractions, Teeth in a Day, dental implants, and other involved procedures. It is sometimes selected for patients who have high levels of anxiety regarding their dental surgery.
General Anesthesia: General anesthesia involves the use of intravenous medication to create an unconscious state in the patient. During the surgery, the patient’s cardiovascular and respiratory functions on monitored continuously, and breathing will be assisted through the use of a breathing tube. General anesthesia presents the highest level of risk among the types of anesthesia. For this reason, it is reserved only when medically necessary (extensive procedures like reconstructions) and deemed appropriate by the surgeon.
It is important to note that oral and maxillofacial surgeons are equipped with the necessary experience, licensing, and training to provide safe and effective anesthesia. It is typical that most surgeons are assisted by registered nurses and certified surgical assistants who are trained to monitor the patient, as well as all devices and equipment, and are ready to handle the rare anesthesia related emergency.
If you have concerns about anesthesia for oral surgery, let the caring professionals at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah help set your mind at ease. We can discuss all your anesthesia options to find the one that is right for you.