Receiving Anaesthesia and/or Sedation for Dental Procedures
It is not unusual for patients to experience anxiety and stress before a dental procedure. We understand that dental surgery is not something you look forward to so our anesthesiologists work hard to give you medication to reduce this anxiety. Your comfort is one of our top priorities. Staying relaxed not only helps your stress, but it also helps us get our work done as fast as possible. Sedation can also be a good choice for those who have a serious gag reflex, long or difficult appointments or those who require comprehensive procedures.
This page will answer the most frequently asked questions with regards to anesthesia. The specific choice of which sedation or anesthesia technique to use will be chosen by you with your doctor helping to consult.
What Exactly is Sedation and/or Anaesthesia?
Anaesthesia is used to stop sensations, in a dental context this refers to any pain or discomfort that occurs during a dental procedure. Some patients can become very anxious at the prospect of a dental procedure, this is when we utilize sedative drugs. They help make the patient relax and make them more comfortable with the procedure. The choice of which anaesthetic to use will depend on a variety of factors ranging from, the specific needs of the patient as well as the procedure. This will be customized to need your individual needs.
How is the Medication Administered?
Anaesthetic and sedative medications are generally administered intravenously. This method has fast acting effects which allows your doctor to accurately choose the dosage to ensure you are as comfortable and relaxed as possible for the procedure. It also makes it much easier to administer any other drugs or medications that may be required later on in the procedure.
If a patient is too anxious or uncomfortable with receiving an anaesthetic intravenously then they may be given a sedative pill, roughly four minutes before the appointment. There is also an anaesthetic patch that can be worn on the patient’s skin and should be administered roughly one hour prior to the appointment. The patch will make the skin numb and make the IV less uncomfortable.
How am I Monitored During the Procedure?
A dental anesthesiologist will monitor all of the patient’s vital signs during the procedure. This includes, Oxygen saturation, EKG, heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate.
There has been a strong record of safety and success with using anaesthesia and sedation in dentistry. These tools are routinely used and have been researched in depth. Your doctor has received years of training and has the experience to ensure your safety and health. It is however crucial that you notify your doctor of any medications that you are taking and/or any changes to your overall health from your last appointment.
Will I need to see or speak with the anesthesiologist before the appointment?
Your medical history can be reviewed over the phone, but there must be a brief physical examination on the day of the procedure. This is when any anxiety you may face will be looked after, and when we will fit the anaesthetic plan to your specific needs. There may also be some additional information needed from your doctor before the anaesthesia appointment. There are some conditions that may exclude certain patients from anaesthesia in the dental office. These conditions include, asthma, heart disease, lung disease, obesity, hypertension, sleep apnea, and some others as well.
How much will it cost?
The cost of anaesthesia is dependant on the time needed for induction, completion of the dental work and an extra hour for recovery. Units will be based on the dentist’s time operation, one unit reflecting one minute. The medications used are all short term, so you will be awake soon after the work is completed. You will however need to be observed for another half hour to an hour to make sure that you are safe to be discharged. There is an estimate made for the cost of sedation that will be provided to the patient before the sedation appointment. We accept cash, amex, mastercard, debit and visa. We do not however accept personal cheques and full payment is required on the day of the operation.
Pre Operative Instructions
It is important that you arrive for your appointment with a plan to get home. It is not safe for you to operate a motor vehicle after a sedation appointment so it will not begin until we are sure that you have a safe means of returning home.
You are not allowed to eat for eight hours before the appointment. You are also not allowed to drink for four hours before the appointment as well. This includes clear fluids like, water, black coffee, and juice. It is important that you take your medications as recommended by your anesthesiologist. Make sure to wear comfortable clothing, with short sleeves for the IV. Do not wear, contact lenses, jewelry, slippers or sandals, or nail polish. Also make sure to you the bathroom before the procedure starts, they can take a long time.
Post Operative instructions
Make sure to get plenty of rest and drink ample amounts of fluids. Avoid any serious activity and remember to take it easy. Do not drink any alcohol or take any other sedative medications for a full 24 hours. Mixing these with the anesthesia given at our office can be very dangerous. So can operating heavy machinery, so avoid that as well for a full 24 hours. Make sure to eat light foods and don’t make any critical decisions as your judgement may be affected.