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What is Dental Anesthesiology?

Dentist anesthesiologists are specially trained in the field of pain and anxiety control. They use medicines called “anesthetics” during procedures to reduce your anxiety and to make your dental visits as safe, comfortable, and pain-free as possible. .


What is Sedation and Anesthesia?

To reduce your pain and anxiety during dental and oral surgeries, your dentist may use one of the following:

Local anesthesia, also known as Novocain, prevents pain in and around the mouth during treatment. You are awake and aware of the procedure.

Oral Sedatives like Valium or inhaled gases like nitrous oxide or laughing gas, will help you relax and feel more comfortable, especially if you are feeling anxious or fearful about the procedure.

Intravenous sedative drugs cause “conscious sedation”. These medicines can also control fear and anxiety. Many times dentists use this form of sedation addition to local anesthetics.

General anesthesia is used when anxiety is too high or local anesthesia does not work. Young children or people who are mentally challenged commonly receive this type of anesthetic.


How is the medicine administered?

Both sedative and anesthetic medicines are given through a needle – also called an “IV” – placed in your body and left there during the procedure. Using an IV lets medicines work faster, and it is easier for your dentist to adjust the amount of medicine you are getting. It also lets you to wake up sooner.


How am I monitored during the procedure?

Your dentist will use monitors to measure:

  • you reathing,
  • the amount of oxygen in your blood,
  • your blood pressure, and
  • your heart rate.


What makes a dentist anesthesiologist different from a regular dentist?

Dentist anesthesiologists can provide the full range of anesthesia options for most dental or face and jaw surgeries. They should also be trained in the use of intravenous – or “IV” conscious sedation. A special permit and advanced education is required to give these sedative agents in a dental office.


Can regular dentists do any sedation at all?

An oral surgeon can typically provide conscious sedation if a patient only needs:

  • only dental extractions
  • standard oral surgery

They may use “deep sedation”, a hybrid state between conscious sedation and general anesthesia, for tooth removal or other common oral surgical procedures.

Learn more from this brochure from the American Dental Associaiton – Having Anesthesia/Sedation for Dental Procedures



For more information:

Go to the Dental Anesthesia health topic.