General anesthesia and sedation
For most patients 'general anesthesia' means being 'asleep'. It differs from a 'sedation' in that patients are completely unconscious. In this state surgery can be performed without any awareness on the part of the patient. From the patient's perspective the entire procedure is over in the blink of an eye. This is an ideal technique for procedures such as wisdom tooth removal.
In our office Unconscious Sedation (also known as Deep Sedation) and General Anesthesia is induced through the intravenous administration of a series of medications. The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario only permits dentists who completed formal multiyear residency training and education in anesthesia are to practice this type of anesthesia.
We do not routinely need to place a breathing tube down the airway or connect patients to ventilators. This makes recovery very fast. It is a similar unconscious sedation as having a colonoscopy. During the procedure we monitor your heart rate, heart rhythm, blood pressure and breathing continuously. Our nursing staff is well trained and certified in advanced resuscitation techniques. Our facility and equipment are routinely inspected by our regulatory body. To reduce risks to our patients we review your general health at the consultation. Individuals with ongoing breathing problems (such as asthma), heart conditions, uncontrolled diabetes or kidney failure may not be suitable for an office anesthetic. Although nausea and vomiting are rare with the medications we now use, we still require all patients who recieve intravenous medications to come on an empty stomach.
Intravenous Conscious Sedation makes use of some of the same medications used in general anesthesia. The combination and dose of medication induces a state of light sleep. Patients can be roused easily. This technique in combination with local freezing allows patients to have their surgery in a very comfortable state while still feeling that they are 'in control'.
Nitrous Oxide or 'Laughing Gas' makes most people somewhat giddy and feeling at ease. It is not suitable for individuals who are very nervous about their surgery.