For many patients who are in need of oral surgery the thought of being sedated is more frightening than what happens during the actual procedure. In an effort to reduce some of your pre-procedure anxiety and relieve some of your fears about being sedated, the staff at Sedaros Oral Facial Surgery & Dental Implants has gathered important things you should know about the most common form of sedation used for oral surgery – IV sedation/general anesthesia.

Fact #1 – There is a Difference Between IV Sedation and General Anesthesia

It is common that many oral surgery patients believe that IV sedation and general anesthesia are two different phrases used to describe one sedation technique. This misconception happens because the two phrases are often mentioned together when people talk about oral surgery. The fact is IV sedation and general anesthesia are two different types of sedation methods.

IV sedation is when calming sedatives are administered or injected directly into the vein. The sedative medication has a calming effect that relaxes you. Even though you are relaxed and sedate, you are still able to physically respond to stimulus, pain, and commands. IV sedation is often used for wisdom teeth removal and other more complex dental procedures.

General anesthesia involves the use of anesthetic drugs, but when they are administered you are rendered temporarily unconscious. Administering general anesthesia is a complex process that involves monitoring vital functions, determining the proper dosage, and using endotracheal tubes to help with respiration. Due to the complex nature of the sedation technique, general anesthesia is often reserved for complex and lengthy oral surgery procedures.

Fact #2: All Anesthesia is Customized to Meet Patients Needs

Administering anesthesia is not something that follows a one-size-fits-all procedure. Before every patient is sedated, the surgeon or anesthesiologist will create a customized sedation plan that determines how the medication is administered, for how long, and in what dosage. Factors that will be taken into consideration include length of the procedure, complex nature of the procedure, your age, weight, medical history, any current medications you are taking, and previous experiences with anesthesia.

Fact #3: Pain Medication is Administered During the Procedure

Just because you are in a sedated state during the procedure that doesn’t mean you won’t feel any pain. In addition to the sedation medication your oral surgeon will use pain medication or a numbing agent to prevent you from feeling any pain.

Typically, general anesthetic is used for dental procedures such as wisdom teeth removal or tooth extraction. Narcotics are often used during more complex surgical procedures such as jaw surgery or procedures used to correct facial trauma.

Since the pain medication or anesthetic is only used during the procedure, your oral surgeon may prescribe OTC or prescription pain medication that should be taken in the days after the procedure. This medication can help with any pain that occurs in the days after the procedure as your body is healing and recovering from the surgery.

Fact #4: There is a Good Chance You Won’t Remember Anything

Even if you are undergoing IV sedation, there is a good chance you won’t remember your procedure. In fact, your memories surrounding the hours leading up to the procedure and immediately after will be a bit fuzzy. This happens because one of the side effects of the sedative is partial memory loss.

Under general anesthetic, where you are completely unconscious, you are not awake at all. Therefore, you will not know anything that is going on with you or what is happening to you during the procedure. People under general anesthetic may remember the moments before the medication is administered, but they will not have any memory of the actual procedure or even the hours after the procedure.

It is our hope that learning more about IV sedation and general anesthesia can help you have a more comfortable experience. If you still have questions that haven’t been answered here or when you attended your consultation, feel free to call our office. We will gladly answer any and all questions you have about sedation and your procedure.