The first type is local anesthesia commonly known as novocaine, but we use newer anesthetics that are stronger (septicaine) and can last longer (marcaine). This is the most common anesthesia in dentistry.
The local anesthesia numbs the inside of the mouth around the tooth only. The outside of the mouth is not numb. The pressure or pushing from the outside of the mouth is still felt. You are awake and conscious during the procedure, and see and hear everything. And please remember, some of the teeth are right next to the ear, it will be very loud!
This anesthesia is good for the high pain threshold cold stone patient that has tattoos all over the body that nothing makes them flinch - although, there are patients that have tolerated a lot of tattoos but still have dental phobia. Anybody else, please get more sedation to smoothen the dental surgery experience. Local anesthesia cost is included in the surgical procedure.
Laughing gas & local anesthesia, power combo!
The second type of anesthesia is a combination of the laughing gas (nitrous oxide) with the local anesthesia. Nitrous oxide is called laughing gas because with it, the kids feel a tickling to the tips of the finger and toes making them laugh. The advantage of the laughing gas is that it has a relaxing effect, but you are still awake and conscious.
The laughing gas is delivered via a mask that goes over the nose. It is breathed in mixed with oxygen. It takes effect in 5 minutes, stays on during the procedure, and after the procedure is done, the effect wears off in 5 minutes. While you are under the effect of the laughing gas, the area in the mouth around the tooth is numbed up with the local anesthesia.
With the laughing gas, you are relaxed, awake, and conscious during the procedure, and you don't mind your surroundings. You do not feel anything inside your mouth due to the local anesthetic. You will feel pressure or pushing from the outside of your mouth, but you don't mind it as much. The laughing gas is for patients that get a little nervous. It is good for procedures shorter than 30 minutes. Please note that the laughing gas does NOT put you to sleep.
Twilight Anesthesia, time to groove.
The third type of anesthesia is a combination of oral sedation with the laughing gas and local anesthesia. The advantage of this type of anesthesia is that it relaxes you into a state of semi-conscious sedation. The effect is like trying to stay late watching TV, dozing away, and waking up, and seeing little bits and pieces of the movie.
The oral sedation is a combination of pills taken an hour before the procedure. Once the pills are taken, it is not recommended to drive for 24 hours. The oral sedation gives a deep sensation of relaxation. It is combined with the laughing gas and the local anesthesia that was previously explained.
The oral sedation puts you in a state of twilight anesthesia where you doze out, and do not mind the surroundings, further relaxed than the laughing gas alone. Most of the time, patients do not remember anything. This level of anesthesia is for the nervous patient that does not want to be put to completely sleep under unconscious IV sedation, and of course, it is less costly, too.
Deep Sleep Sedation, the Rolls Royce of sleep dentistry.
The last type of anesthesia is intravenous (IV) sedation or commonly known as sleep dentistry. This level of anesthesia is very common for dental surgery. You go into unconscious sleep and do not feel, hear, or see anything. For your safety, this level of anesthesia is not performed on the same day as the exam. It is recommended to eat dinner the night before and not eat or drink anything after midnight. An hour before the procedure, a pill cocktail is taken to help relax. Once the pills are taken, you cannot drive the rest of the day and someone has to drive you to and from the office.
At the office, the laughing gas will be administered and under the effect of the laughing gas, an intravenous line is started on your arm. The sedation medications are delivered through the IV line producing the effect of unconscious sedation.
The experience has been described as a lapse of time feeling like going to sleep for 5 minutes but in reality, an hour or more will go by. When awake, the inside of the mouth will have been numbed because the local anesthesia is given while you are asleep before the procedure is started.
Deep sleep sedation is recommended for anyone that severely fears the dentist. This is the most costly type of sedation. A complicated medical history or in particular, sleep apnea, can be limiting factors. IV sedation is charged by time and costs about $250 per every 15 minutes.
Please take some time to reflect on the type of anesthesia that suits you the best for the procedure to be performed.