Dental surgery is often the first surgical procedure many people experience. The uncertainty of what to expect is what drives most patients’ fear. The first question patients often ask is whether they will have pain. Fortunately, modern anesthesia allows doctors to provide many complex surgeries in the dental office at little to no discomfort to the patient.

There are several forms of anesthesia available, such as nitrous oxide (also known as “Laughing Gas”) and intravenous (IV) sedation (also known as “twilight sleep” or “conscious sedation”). Your dentist can help you choose the method that is best for you by examining factors such as your level of anxiety and the type of the surgery to be performed. The anesthesia methods Dr. Woodmansee offers are explained below.

  • Local Anesthesia: All surgical cases are performed with local anesthetic (also known as “Novocain”) regardless of whether any type of sedation is chosen. Local anesthetic numbs your tooth, jawbone, and gums.
  • Intravenous Sedation (“IV sedation/ Twilight Sleep/ Conscious sedation”): IV sedation enables you to feel relaxed and comfortable throughout the surgery. Performing the sedation through an IV is the safest and most predicable way to reduce anxiety, awareness, and memory during the procedure. During the sedation, you will technically be “conscious” so the body can maintain natural reflexes like breathing and swallowing.  Many patients, however, are so relaxed they drift in and out of sleep (“twilight sleep”) and are frequently unaware of the dental procedure.  The intention is to use the least amount of medication possible while ensuring the patient is comfortable. In addition to being affordable and effective, IV sedation is extremely safe, making it an attractive option for many patients. The disadvantages of conscious sedation are the increased cost and need for an escort after the procedure.
  • Nitrous Oxide (“Laughing Gas”): Nitrous oxide analgesia, or “laughing gas,” has been the classic method of light sedation for dental procedures. During the use of nitrous oxide, patients remain in control of their physical functions and breathe independently. Nitrous oxide is a convenient and ideal option for patients with minimal anxiety towards the surgical procedure.