Sedation Dentistry: General Anesthesia vs. IV Sedation

Sedation Dentistry: General Anesthesia vs. IV Sedation

December 12, 2022

What Is Sedation in Dentistry?

It is a medication that dentists administer before performing dental procedures. The role of sedation is to calm and relax your nerves, ensuring to remain still during treatments. Dentists typically employ sedation dentistry in Houston, TX, when:

  1. Patients have dental anxiety
  2. Before performing invasive dental procedures – especially oral surgeries.
  3. Patients must undergo multiple dental procedures within one dental sitting
  4. Before performing long procedures
  5. Patients cannot sit still or remain steady for treatments – this can be due to age, nerves, or excess gag reflexes.

What Is General Anesthesia?

A type of sedation dentistry near you involves a mix of intravenous medicine and inhaled gas. A strong sedation method makes patients enter a deep sleep for procedures. Typically, the medication makes you unconscious throughout the treatment. Even after your dentist completes the treatment, you need a different medication to counter the general anesthesia and wake up. In the past, dentists used general anesthesia to perform oral surgeries that take time to complete.

What Is IV Sedation?

It is intravenous sedation – a sedative administered through the veins. IV sedation works by injecting the medicine directly into the bloodstream through the veins. It makes is the fastest form of sedation. It works as moderate and deep sedation.

Which Type of Sedation Is Better in Dentistry?

Over the years, more dentists have shifted to IV sedation for dental procedures and avoided general anesthesia, even for oral surgeries like tooth implants and extraction procedures. The primary reason is the safety of the patients regarding the ability to wake up after deep sleep. Some other reasons why more dentists are using IV sedation over general anesthesia are:

  1. It is faster – since drugs are administered intravenously, they begin to take effect in your body much quicker than all other sedation methods. Dentists prefer IV sedation even for emergency dental procedures because of the speed of administration.
  2. Recovery is fast – you do not remain sedated for a long period.
  3. Ability to regulate – dentists can control the degree of sedation through the IV fluids they administer during your treatment. With general anesthesia, you need a different medication to counter the effect of the sedative.
  4. It is ideal for everyone, including children. Usually, general anesthesia depresses the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, making it a risky procedure for some patients.
  5. It is a moderate sedative – IV sedation makes you partially forget the events of your treatment. During IV sedation, you are in a semi-awake state where you feel relaxed and sleepy but can still communicate. It differs from general anesthesia, which renders you completely unresponsive and unconscious.

When Is General Anesthesia the Better Option?

Dental experts generally avoid using general anesthesia for dental procedures. The stakes are higher for pediatric dentist Houston TX that must be concerned for kids’ welfare. However, general anesthesia is not completely out of use in dentistry, particularly in the following situations:

  1. Severe anxiety and mental conditions – for example, some patients with an autism spectrum disorder can be unable to cooperate with dentists under other types of sedation.
  2. For complex oral surgeries and traumatic restorative treatments
  3. For patients with a high tolerance to other medication – some sedatives have little to no effect on their bodies.

Choosing the Best Sedative

It is under the jurisdiction of the dentist at Urbach Pediatric Dentistry to determine the best sedative, usually relative to the dental treatment you need. However, the dentist must rely on the information you offer, especially regarding your preferences and previous medical experiences. Some factors that affect the choice of sedative for dental treatments are:

  1. Health condition – deep sedation is not favorable for patients with underlying health problems, especially heart conditions.
  2. The severity of dental anxiety – through observing you, the dentist can determine whether your dental anxiety is manageable with mild sedation or not.
  3. The complexity of treatment – patients needing multiple surgeries or other complex procedures need special care to help them remain still, calm, and relaxed for a long time.
  4. Age of the patient – along with all the other factors- influences the choice of sedative ideal for use.
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