General Anesthesia vs Deep Sedation

Posted on July 25th, 2019 at 5:30 PM
General Anesthesia vs Deep Sedation

You may have heard that dental procedures at Sleep Dentistry with Dr. Kevin Mahoney can be performed under general anesthesia — a practice also referred to as sleep dentistry But what exactly is general anesthesia, how is it done, and what distinguishes it from a) other forms of anesthesia and b) deep sedation? Why might sleep dentistry be right for you? Let’s dig into it here.

The 3 Types of Anesthesia

Anesthesia is a temporary, medically-induced loss of sensation or awareness to facilitate painless and more humane surgical procedures. It has been utilized in some form since antiquity, but modern anesthetic practices didn’t emerge until the 20th century.

The three types of anesthesia are differentiated by how much of the body they affect.

1. Local anesthesia

Often administered topically or through injection, local anesthesia numbs only the site being worked on. Novocaine, which originated in the early 1900s, may be the most familiar example from the dentist’s office. However, it has since been replaced in most dental offices by lidocaine.

2. Regional anesthesia

Usually injected through the spine, regional anesthesia cuts off sensation to a more extensive portion of the body. In dental practice, it might be applied to interrupt pain signals to the jaw (i.e., mandible). One popular example of regional anesthesia being used outside of dentistry would be an epidural administered during childbirth.

3. General anesthesia

Normally delivered intravenously or through inhalation, general anesthesia is characterized by a state of utter unconsciousness. The patient’s breathing, temperature, fluids, and blood pressure are carefully monitored by a licensed anesthesiologist while they’re unconscious. The patient will have no memory of the procedure.

Best Erie, PA Dentist - Dr. Kevin Mahoney

The 3 Levels of Sedation

Sedation calms or soothes the patient to varying degrees, but in no form is the patient truly unconscious.

1. Minimal sedation

Under minimal sedation, a patient can still respond to questioning and follow directions. It’s typically used in minimally invasive outpatient procedures and can aid with patient communication, cooperation, and relaxation.

2. Moderate sedation

Moderately sedated patients will feel drowsier but are still capable of response. It might be applied in situations where a patient is acting in a defiant or belligerent fashion.

3. Deep sedation

When deeply sedated, patients will not stir from their sleep unless repeatedly or painfully stimulated. Willful recall of the procedure is rare.

Finding a Dentist That Offers Sedation Through Anesthesia

To ensure a completely painless and comfortable experience for our patients, Sleep Dentistry with Dr. Kevin Mahoney utilizes general anesthesia to get more work done in less time, removing dental fear and anxiety from the equation. If you think you'd be a good candidate for sleep dentistry, there are several reasons why you might choose Dr. Mahoney. For results that you’ll remember without the potentially painful process of getting there, schedule an appointment with Dr. Mahoney today.