Advances in Oral Surgery procedures such as dental implants have greatly expanded the options for patients with decaying, failing, or missing teeth. However, many patients who would benefit from dental implants or other oral surgery procedures do not pursue these options due to their fear of the pain associated with oral surgery. The good news is that many oral surgeons are now offering several options for pain relief and relaxation during oral surgery.
Most people are familiar with local anesthesia such as Novocaine. Novocaine is a local anesthetic used to numb a specific area in a patient’s mouth. There are also other options that can be combined with local anesthetics to relax patients and alleviate pain during oral surgery procedures. These options include Nitrous Oxide Gas, intravenous sedation, and general anesthesia.
Nitrous Oxide Gas “laughing gas” is one option. Nitrous Oxide is delivered to patients through a mask that fits over their nose, and causes patients to relax. Most patients stay awake, but in a much more relaxed state. Some patients will naturally fall asleep after receiving Nitrous Oxide.
Intravenous sedation is another option for patients who are undergoing oral surgery. Intravenous sedation involves the use of short-acting sedative medications that are delivered intravenously. Intravenous sedation causes patients to drift into a light sleep sometimes referred to as “twilight sleep.” Although patients are not fully asleep, most will have no memory of the procedure.
General Anesthesia is yet another option for patients who undergo oral surgery. General anesthesia involves the use of short-acting sedative medications that cause patients to drift into a deep sleep. With general anesthesia, patients are fully asleep and unable to be aroused during the procedure.
It is important to discuss your options for pain relief and relaxation with your oral surgeon before undergoing oral surgery. Different oral surgeons offer different options. Your medical history and the complexity and duration of the surgery may also dictate your options.