General anesthesia uses a combination of inhaled gasses and IV medications to create an unconscious state for the patient. While under anaesthesia, the patient will not feel any pain or have a memory of the procedure.
When is general anaesthesia used?
General Anaesthesis may necessary for such patients who:
- Require large or extensive amounts of treatment
- Are extremely dental phobic and require dental care for a healthy mouth
- Have special healthcare needs
- Are too young to sit still and require necessary treatments
- Fail to accomplish treatment with sedation, laughing gas and/or behavioural management
What happens during general anaesthesia?
- The patient and family will meet with both the dentist and the anesthesiologist for a consultation prior to the day of surgery to ensure that he/she is healthy enough to have the procedure. Not all patients are good candidates for general anesthesia in an office. During the consultation, the anesthesiologist will also review the risks and benefits of anesthesia, answer all questions, and review pre and post-operative instructions.
- During the procedure and after the patient is completely relaxed and comfortable, the anaesthesiologist will administer the medicine that will help the patient fall into an unconscious state. The specialist will monitor the patient continually and ensure that he/she remains completely safe. There are national standards as well as European and US protocols in place requiring special monitoring and safety equipment is used when the procedure is undertaken.
- While under general anesthesia for dental care, the patient will “be asleep”. Unlike regular sleep, he/she will not dream or wake up until after the dentist completes all the necessary treatments. The anesthesiologist and the support staff will be present until it is time to wake up and the patient emerges from anesthesia.
What is the difference between general anaesthesia and sedation dentistry?
- Uses medication in the form of gas, pill or IV
- Does not require a specialist anaesthesiologist
- Induces a peaceful, sleepy state of consciousness
- Uses medication in the form of gas or IV
- Requires an anesthesiologist, special medical equipment and safety protocols
- Induces a fully unconscious state for the entire procedure
Because IV sedation and other methods of sedation dentistry are so effective, general anesthesia is only used in certain necessary situations.
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