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Dentist Anesthesia: Some Simple Options

Jul 14, 2008
Dentist anesthesia includes all options possible when using an anesthetic to either calm a patient who is anxious before a dental procedure, numb a targeted area to minimize pain, or completely sedate a patient which would minimize consciousness.

This last option is more rare then other options and is used for specific patients when other options would not be appropriate.

- Local Anesthesia?

This can also be referred to as topical anesthesia and is used to cause numbness in a specific targeted area of the body. In this case, it would be administered in the mouth area to cause numbness in the mouth and gum area. The dentist will use a topical anesthetic to numb the area before administering the local anesthetic via injection. This will most likely be a solution that will include Lidocaine, but it could be another drug in the synthetic local anesthetic family and the name of it will likely end in "caine." This local anesthesia solution may also include an antioxidant, sodium hydroxide, sodium chloride and sometimes epinephrine.

- Analgesics?

Analgesics in the dentist field are going to be non-narcotic and commonly used for relief in toothaches following a dental procedure or treatment. This would include over the counter drugs like aspirin, acetaminophen and non-steroidal drugs such as ibuprofen which may help with inflammation after a procedure.

There are also narcotic analgesics. These include codeine, and act on the central nervous system and are used primarily for more severe pain.

- General Anesthesia?

Some general anesthesia drugs include nitrous oxide which can be used to help anxious patients feel more calm during a dental procedure. These may also be used with a local anesthetic so in this way, not only will the patient feel no pain during the procedure, but the patient will be calm and willing to accept the procedure. This allows the dentist to work as efficiently as possible while the procedure is taking place.

There are also more aggressive general anesthesia treatments that cause a very intense and deep sedation. This can cause a loss of feeling and reduce consciousness thus relieving both the pain and anxiety simultaneously. This can be used for patients that have a difficult time controlling their movements, have deep anxiety. These are also used on children.

- What to remember when going to the dentist:

Make sure to take an active role when visiting the dentist. The ADA provides guidelines so dentists can administer the anesthetics safely; however it is important that you let your dentist know about any medication you are taking before taking any anesthetic. Also, it is important to ask the dentist about the choices of anesthesia they offer and to understand how each one will be administered and how you are most likely to react.

Being a proactive patient will help you feel at ease if the dentist decides to use anesthesia during a procedure. Ultimately you will find the experience more pleasant if you know how and why the anesthesia is being administered.
About the Author
Seth Daugherty has a B.S. in Instructional Technology and is currently getting his masters degree in
library and information science. For more information on Dental Anesthesia go to Dental-Anesthesia.Com
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