Sedation Dentistry: What kind of Anesthesia is used for Oral Surgery?

Mouth Checks Ups

The idea of receiving anesthesia can be intimidating, especially if you’ve had a bad experience before or have a high risk condition. What’s important to keep in mind is that Dr. Puckett is a trained and experienced oral surgeon who is licensed to administer all types of sedation dentistry. You have a range of options available, so we can tailor a safe and comfortable sedation method for your oral surgery.

We’re happy to discuss different anesthesias in detail. We want you to feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible. As a maxillofacial surgeon, Dr. Puckett wants what’s best for his patients — and that means high quality care, delivered as comfortably and pain-free as possible.

Who Needs Sedation Dentistry for Their Oral Surgery?

There are quite a few reasons you may need to be sedated during a surgical procedure on your mouth. Often, sedation dentistry is just as much about keeping a patient calm and relaxed as it is about keeping them resistant to pain. You’ll need some kind of sedation regardless of the type of oral surgery if you have –

  • A fear of dentists and oral surgeons
  • A fear of needles
  • A movement disorder
  • An overactive gag reflex
  • Claustrophobia about being in a dentist chair
  • Extreme sensitivity in your teeth


We’re often asked: What kind of anesthesia is used for oral surgery? There are a number of options available. Let’s look at them in detail.

What Types of Sedation are used for Oral Surgeries?

There are 4 types of anesthesia are commonly used in oral surgery:

  • General Anesthesia
  • IV Sedation
  • Local Anesthesia
  • Nitrous Oxide Sedation with Local Anesthetic


Local Anesthesia

With local anesthesia, you’ll be conscious throughout the oral surgery. This is the method commonly used by dentists if you’ve ever had a cavity. We inject an anesthetic (such as lidocaine) in and around the surgery area. The only discomfort is a slight pinch when it is applied.

Local anesthesia is typically used for minor oral surgery. You may feel the pressure of the dental instruments. If you feel any discomfort, let us know. We’d be happy to adjust the medication levels until you are perfectly comfortable.

Nitrous Oxide Sedation with Local Anesthetic

Sometimes we combine nitrous oxide sedation with a local anesthetic. This approach can be done for simple oral surgeries and dental procedures, but it can also be done for wisdom teeth extraction if you’re worried about being put under. Otherwise known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide will help you relax and can ease anxiety. It acts as a sedative and analgesic, calming you and controlling pain.

IV Sedation

IV sedation is a deeper form of anesthetic applied to an intravenous catheter. Also known as twilight sedation, this type of sedation doesn’t completely knock you out, but you will likely have no memory of the procedure. You may remember a brief conversation before the procedure and immediately after we are done, but little to no recollection of the process itself. You will be calm and comfortable, drifting in and out of sleep, barely conscious.

General Anesthesia

When you think about being put under for a surgery, you are thinking of general anesthesia. It’s a more involved anesthesia experience than IV sedation as you will be completely put to sleep. We tend to use this for more extensive oral surgeries such as impacted wisdom teeth removal, dental implant placement, or face and jaw full mouth reconstructions.

Are There Risks to Sedation Dentistry for Maxillofacial Surgeries?

Like anything in medicine, there are certain risks associated with any of these sedation methods. Albeit, the risks of side effects are really low, but are something to watch out for during recovery. People with certain health problems might have a more difficult time recovering from the sedative used in their oral surgery. Side effects may include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Lingering drowsiness
  • Nausea/vomiting


Sedation dentistry is also safe for pediatric oral surgeries, and is often useful for keeping kids calm during a procedure. The normal range of side effects from sedation dentistry in children is:

  • Irritability
  • Longer time to wake up than adults
  • Low fever
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Snoring


One demographic we don’t give oral sedation to is pregnant women. Anesthesias can cause issues with prenatal development, so if you’re pregnant and need oral surgery, we wait until the 3rd trimester for nitrous oxide, and until you give birth for any other anesthesia methods.

Getting the Care You Need, No Matter Your Health

All forms of sedation dentistry are available at our office. We strive to use natural medications as much as possible. Some health condition limit what kinds of anesthesia we give our patients. Your safety is our utmost concern overall, but close behind is your comfort level, so don’t worry, our oral surgeon. Dr. Puckett, will find the best sedation solution for your oral procedure.

This is another reason, though, to ensure you give us all your medical information, so we can ensure your anesthesia experience is safe and positive. Health conditions that affect the safety of general anesthesia, specifically, are:

  • Allergy to anesthesia
  • Diabetes
  • Heart conditions
  • History of strokes
  • Kidney disease
  • Lung conditions
  • Neurological disorders
  • Severe sleep apnea


On the other hand, there are other types of patients that sedation dentistry is particularly useful for, such as a neurodivergent patient with special medical needs, patients with extreme anxiety, or patients who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s.

The sedation we use for your oral surgery will depend on the factors we’ve discussed. Sedation dentistry can be an effective way of getting the care you need in a comfortable, relaxed, and safe setting.

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