Local and General Anesthesia in Dental Treatments

Updated on Wednesday 22nd April 2020

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Anesthesia in dental treatments is the field of dentistry which manages pain and anxiety by using local anesthesia, sedation and general anesthesia. Different medications are administered so that the patient has a relaxed and comfortable visit to the Dubai dentist. The physician, after discussing with the patient, takes into consideration several factors when choosing certain medications for the treatment. The type of operation, the patient’s general health, the history of allergies and the anxiety level are all taken into consideration when deciding which anesthesia method is most suitable for the patient’s individual case.
 

Local anesthesia in dental treatments


Local anesthesia in dental treatments consists of numbing a minor area by injecting a local anesthetic under the skin in the spot where the incision will be made. If utilized alone, this type of anesthesia presents the least number of possible risks. 

There are various local anesthetics that have different levels of absorption, toxicity and duration of action. One of the most utilized local anesthetics is Lidocaine (Xylocaine). It can be injected or placed topically on the mucous membranes. A topical anesthetic which is becoming more popular for being used before painful dental treatments is the eutectic mixture of local anesthetics (EMLA) cream. This type of cream is made of lidocaine and prilocaine. It is applied directly on the skin and it takes about one hour to gain a satisfactory numbing effect. It can also be used before giving injections or pulling superficial splinters.

Local anesthesia is entirely safe and effective when administered by trained professionals. 


Types of local anesthesia 


The local anesthesia is used in dental medicine for over a century and it is still the main type of procedure when applying anesthetics. Several types of local anesthesia are applied in a variety of areas in the mouth, according to the dental problem and its gravity: 

•    nerve block – it anesthetize the nerves inside the mouth and it is used for invasive dental problems;
•    infiltration – the anesthetic is applied at the root of the tooth;
•   intraosseous – it is applied only using an injection into the bone; the method it used for complicated medical interventions, such as dental surgery;
•    intrapulpal – it is administered into the pulp of the tooth

The duration of the anesthetic depends on the medical problem of the patient and the area where it was applied. This can be can be short, intermediate or long (it can last from 5/10 minutes to more than 300 minutes) and, for each of these stages, our Dubai dentists use different types of anesthetics
 

Methods of applying local anesthesia 


At this moment, there are two ways of applying local anesthetics:

•   injectable anesthetics – applied using a dental syringe;
•   topical anesthetics – this method is used for reducing stress or discomfort which is usually associated with injections. It is used as an alternative method for certain types of interventions, as it anesthetizes only the mucous membrane and tissue. It can’t be used for dental interventions done on teeth or jawbone.  


General anesthesia


General anesthesia in dental treatments induces an unconscious state. In such a state, the patient is:

•    unaware of what is going on;
•    unable to feel pain;
•    static;
•    free from any memory from what happened when he or she was under the general anesthetic.

Such an anesthesia can be induced by using of inhaled gas or injection. There are different medications and gases which can be used alone or in a combination to cause general anesthesia.

During such an anesthesia the patient has to be attentively monitored. 


Oral sedation with local anesthesia for dental procedures


The oral sedation is a type of medication used for many years in dentistry and a proper method utilized before the dentists start a dental treatment. This is a conscious sedation, where the patient is awake and responsive, but he/she will not feel any pain during the dental procedures. Medications like benzodiazepine (Xanax or Valium) are used in an oral sedation which works like a sedative in charge of relaxing the central nervous system. The oral sedation helps a patient to get rid of anxiety, but please consider that this method will come with an oral anesthesia before any dental procedure.

For a better understanding of the use of anesthesia in dental treatments, we invite you to watch the video below: 

 
 

When is general anesthesia used?


There are cases where phobic patients need general anesthesia. Even though it is not that often used, due to its risks which need to be attentively considered, the general anesthesia can be a good option for anxious patients when other treatments cannot be proposed and used. The general anesthesia means that a patient is totally unconscious, and the dentist can suitably perform the dental treatments. It is good to know that before such an important type of anesthesia, a specialist will analyze the health of the patient and the medical records. The general anesthesia can be used in cases where several wisdom teeth are entirely covered in bone and can only be removed surgically.  Many persons are afraid of not waking up after a general anesthesia, but the things are quite encouraging because the risk of death is very small. And remember, such anesthesia will only be used in very complex dental problems.
 

Dental sedation


Dental sedation is a dental treatment anesthesia method which can be utilized by your dentist in Dubai in order to eliminate excitement or anxiety so that the patient receives the adequate dental treatment.

There are different levels of dental sedation, as listed below:

•    minimal sedation: the patient replies normally to verbal commands. Cognitive and coordination functions could be affected, however the breathing is not.
•    moderate sedation (conscious sedation): the patient replies to oral commands, alone or with the assistance of light stimulation. There is no need for interventions to sustain breathing.
•   deep sedation: the patient is not able to respond easily, however he or she can feel painful treatments. The breathing function could be impaired. The subject could necessitate assistance in keeping an open airway.
•    general anesthesia: the patient cannot be awakened even by painful procedures. The breathing function could be often impaired. The patient often needs help to keep an unobstructed airway.


Concerns for dental anesthesia


Before any dental procedure is made, your dentist in Dubai will have to ask a set of questions regarding the overall health, whether you are dealing with allergies or reactions to particular medicines. Also, if you are on medication, or if you take drugs for a specific illness, it is best to talk to your doctor. Even though there aren’t many chances to have an allergic reaction to anesthetics, it is vital to talk to your dentist and offer complete information about your general health.
 

Are there any side effects?


Side effects are extremely rare and local anesthetics are frequently used in our dental clinics in Dubai. A hematoma might be seen as a potential side effect if the needle hits a blood vessel accidentally. There are also cases in which the eyes cannot blink properly. This might take a few hours, and usually, there are no additional problems in this direction. As another rare side effect, a patient might sense a fast beating heart for a few minutes after the local anesthesia has been performed. This is extremely rare, but if you sense it, it is best to talk to your dentist at that particular moment.
 

Leaving the dental office after an anesthesia


If you are concerned about how you will feel when the dental treatment is performed, and if the anesthesia will last long, you should ask your dentist before any procedure is made. In most cases, the local anesthesia will last approximately 7 hours, a time during which the patient cannot speak or eat properly. Rest and plenty of water, plus light soups are suggested in these hours. Also, you might want to talk to a friend or a family member if you feel like you cannot deal on your own at a certain point.

Our dentists in Dubai are appropriately trained to utilize these methods for the management of dental patients and are devoted to confer their safe and effective utilization. Please contact us if you have further questions.