How to Protect Your Teeth

Important Facts About Using General Anesthesia For Routine Dental Treatments When You Have Severe Dental Anxiety

If you feel anxiety or fear as the result of dental care, you are not alone. Recent statistics have established that as many as three out of four adults in the United States suffer from at least some amount of dental fear and at least 5% of people from that same group suffer from dental phobia. Therefore, it is important to note that general anesthesia, although not overly common, has allowed many people to access the dental care they need without significant emotional trauma from doing so.

#1 General Anesthesia Requires Additional Supportive Care While You Are Under Its Effects

General anesthesia is generally considered to be very safe. However, it does present with the possibility of some side effects, so you will need more monitoring with general anesthesia than you would with less invasive options.

The following will continually be evaluated during the time when you are unconscious:

  • Pulse

  • Oxygen levels in your blood

  • Body temperature

  • Breathing

In addition, because general anesthesia can depress your cardiovascular and respiratory systems, you may need to be intubated. Intubation can help you breath, if necessary and it can be removed soon after you wake up.

#2-You Can Use General Anesthesia In Combination With Other Medications

It is not unusual for general anesthesia to be only the first medication that you will receive during your dental work. Specifically, general anesthesia typically starts with a shot in your hand or arm. Some patients will also require the use of a face mask for additional pain management or to assist with breathing during the procedure.

Local anesthetic, to numb specific parts of your mouth, is often provided once the general anesthetic has begun working. Local anesthesia is helpful because it will still be providing pain management when you wake up and the general anesthesia has worn off. The overlap allows you to receive other pain medicine, either orally or through an IV, before the local anesthesia quits working.

#3-General Anesthesia Often Needs To Be Done In A Hospital Setting

Due to the extra monitoring that general anesthesia requires, it is frequently provided in a hospital setting. In order to be allowed to provide general anesthesia in an office setting, your oral surgeon will have finished three or more months of training in anesthesia in a hospital. If a dentist has not accessed that training, you will need to check into a hospital where your dentist has privileges.

In conclusion, if you experience significant fear or anxiety as the result of dental care, it is a good idea to discuss the possibility of receiving general anesthesia to limit your reactions. Although it does not present without risk, anesthesia has allowed many people to access the general dental treatment they need with less stress.