Dental anesthesia is a field in anesthesia that provides sedation in the oral cavity for dental purposes.
This includes both local and general anesthesia, that provides a painless experience for the patient and a much easier approach for the dentist. There are a lot of procedures in dentistry that can be very painful, so the patient wouldn’t be able to go through them without the proper sedation. A lot of these medical procedures are necessary so people have to go through them. Also, there are patients that simply have a low tolerance for pain and require an anesthetic even when getting decay removed. This procedure can be done without anesthesia in most cases, but when the patient requires it, dentists decide to apply an anesthetic. As you can see, sedation is not only given when it’s completely necessary but is sometimes used when the patient requests it. It is a very important step in dentistry, considering the fact that a lot of procedures such as extraction and surgery are not possible without anesthesia.
There are two types of anesthesia: general and local. The local type is definitely more common in dentistry because the procedures are performed in a single part of the body, the oral cavity. General anesthesia is administered for larger surgical procedures. There are patients in dentistry that have to go under general anesthesia. In that group, you will find people with physical and mental disabilities, especially children that might interfere with the process during local sedation. The patient is not awake during general anesthesia, and it has to be administered by a doctor specialist. In dentistry, this type is also used in maxillofacial surgery.
Local anesthesia is used for a number of reasons. The most common one is by far extraction of teeth. Others include simpler, smaller dental procedures including removing decay, small surgical interventions in the oral cavity, getting samples for biopsy, removing cysts, apicoectomies, root canal and more. It is defined as a temporary loss of sensitivity in a certain area of the mouth, while the patient is still conscious and all of the other parts are kept as usual. The effects last for a short period of time, just enough so that the dentist can perform the procedure. There are sprays with a mild concentration of anesthetic, also used locally, and administered before a very small procedure.
There are also many different types of local anesthesia techniques used to desensitize different parts of the mouth. It can be applied to both upper and lower jaw and in the areas of different teeth. Once the dentist decides which part he has to desensitize, he will know which technique he has to perform. The anesthetic is administered in that area with a special needle. The pain is tolerable and lasts only for a few seconds. Lidocaine is one of the most commonly used local anesthetics. It can be delivered in two forms: with or without adrenaline. Patients with other systemic diseases such as heart problems have to get advice from their other doctor before getting local anesthesia. There are also people allergic to certain anesthetics, that’s why they should always let the dentist know beforehand.
Side effects are very rare, but they still exist. Some of them include a hematoma, that is a swelling caused by blood in the oral cavity area. This happens if the needle damages a blood vessel when the anesthesia is administered. Other side effects are racing heartbeat, numbness, not being able to blink and more. There is a possibility of nerve damage but it happens very rarely.