We get it — the thought of oral surgery is not on the top of everyone’s bucket list. The number one issue people have concern with is sedation: How is it administered for oral surgery and how safe is it?
First, as a doctor of dental surgery, Dr. Puckett is licensed and certified to offer all forms of sedation available. Our priorities are your comfort and safety. We care; we’ll be gentle. Relax! You’re in good hands.
What forms are available when it comes to sedation for oral surgery? That depends on the nature of the procedure, health considerations, and comfort needs. In most cases, you’ll be awake in some form — the exception is if you are put under general anesthesia.
The 4 Levels of Sedation Administration for Oral Surgery
There are generally 4 levels of sedation available:
- Minimal Sedation: You are fairly awake and cognizant, but highly relaxed.
- Moderate Sedation: Also known as conscious sedation, this form leaves you relaxed and groggy. You may slur your words and may not remember much of the procedure.
- Deep Sedation: You are on the edge of consciousness but can be easily awakened. For all intents and purposes you’ll be asleep, but not deeply.
- General Anesthesia: You are completely unconscious, pretty much knocked out. We typically reserve this form for extensive oral surgery.
Application Methods of Sedation for Oral Surgery
For minimal sedation, you can inhale nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas, which is combined with oxygen administered through a mask placed over the nose. You can readily control your gas intake by asking us to raise or lower the amount you are given. The gas is highly relaxing and helps to ease anxiety.
Sedation is also available in a pill form that can range from minimal to moderate effects. The most common method of sedation dentistry is to administer Halcion, a member of the same drug family as Valium. Typically, you take it an hour before the procedure. You’ll feel drowsy, but still awake. We can increase the number of pills taken for a more moderate approach to sedation. You may fall asleep during the procedure but can be gently awakened following completion.
Another approach to moderate oral surgery sedation is through an IV, administered through a vein. This allows the effects to come on more quickly. This method allows us to continually adjust treatment levels throughout the procedure.
For deep sedation and general anesthesia, we administer medications that will make you nearly unconscious or completely knocked out, depending on the level of medication. During general anesthesia, you cannot be easily awakened until the effects of the medication have worn off.