5 Questions to Ask Before Dental Surgery- Anesthesia Safety

Information is power. If you’re preparing for dental surgery, get the information you need to be safe and knowledgeable about your procedure. Ask the following questions about anesthesia safety to your dentist or oral surgeon before any surgical procedure.

What Are My Anesthetic Options?

We offer a wide variety of anesthetic options, allowing us to customize your treatment to your medical needs and anxiety level. We will carefully discuss your health, dental needs, and anxiety levels during your consultation and will recommend anesthetic options including:

  • Local Anesthetics- Local anesthetics block pain sensations in a specific area. These are often administered via injection near the area we will be treating. Local anesthetics can be used alone or paired with sedation options. Local anesthetics are very effective and most patients report little to no pain when using this option. Local anesthetics do not help a patient to relax, they only numb pain sensations.
  • Nitrous Oxide– Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, provides mild sedation for dental procedures. It is inhaled through a mask with oxygen and can help increase comfort during some procedures. You will be able to hear and respond while using nitrous oxide, but will feel calm and comfortable. The effects of nitrous oxide are short-lived and most patients return to normal shortly after the mask is removed. This is usually paired with local anesthetics.
  • Oral Sedation– Oral sedation uses oral medications for sedation before a dental procedure. This can reduce fear and anxiety before a procedure and can help you to relax during treatment. Oral sedation levels vary, depending on the patient’s response and the medication selected. You will be unable to drive if using oral sedation and will need someone to bring you to the procedure and take you home. You may not remember your dental procedure after oral sedation. This is usually paired with local anesthetics.
  • IV Sedation– IV sedation, also known twilight sedation, uses an IV (intravenous) medication for sedation. IV sedation relieves anxiety and encourages relaxation. IV sedation may cause you to not remember aspects of your dental treatment. Many patients describe the experience as drifting in and out of sleep. You will be unable to drive after IV sedation and will need someone to take you home.
  • General Anesthesia– General anesthesia leaves a patient totally unconscious and unresponsive during a dental procedure. This approach is generally reserved for those undergoing extensive dental work or those with high levels of dental anxiety.

We also have privileges at a local hospital and can perform complex procedures there for additional safety. Whether you’re receiving a simple extraction or complex gum grafting with dental implants, we have the right anesthetic options to keep you comfortable and safe throughout your procedure.

What Are the Risks and Benefits of the Anesthesia/Sedation Methods You’re Recommending?

Each anesthesia method has specific risks and benefits. We’ll discuss these in depth before your procedure. It is important to weigh the potential risks with the benefits that each option offers to find the ideal balance between results and safety.

If you’re uncomfortable with the anesthesia option we recommend, let us know. We can further explain our reasoning and help to alleviate your concerns. We may also be able to select a different anesthesia option that you’re more comfortable with. Dental surgery should be a collaboration between doctor and patient. We’ll work with you to find options that work best for your situation.

Is Dental Anesthesia Safer with a Dentist or Oral Surgeon?

Dental anesthesia can be performed in-office with excellent safety. Generally, an oral surgeon is a safer choice for dental anesthesia due to their advanced training. Regular dentists must complete bare minimum requirements to receive a dental anesthesia permit, but oral surgeons receive additional rigorous and comprehensive training in a hospital setting, training well beyond the basic requirements for an office anesthesia permit. Generally, oral surgeons are a safer, more experienced choice for office anesthesia.

How Have You Prepared for Emergency Situations?

No one wants to think about an emergency happening, but sometimes, they do arise. Ask your oral surgeon how they have prepared for emergency situations. At Hill Country Oral Surgery we are:

  • Certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS).
  • Properly permitted with anesthesia permits from the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners.
  • Dedicated to training for emergency situations including rescuing of patients and airway management in the intensive care unit and emergency room.
  • Outfitted with the most up-to-date monitoring systems in a state-of-the-art facility.

Before you receive dental anesthesia, ask these questions and any others you may have. Remember, knowledge and information are the key to a safe and effective dental surgery. We always welcome questions and are ready to address any of your concerns. Call us to schedule your oral surgery consultation today.