Is Anesthesia Right for You?

If you are a dental patient who experiences anxiety prior to a dental procedure, sedation dentistry may be right for you. A dental anesthesiologist is a dentist who specializes in pain management and anxiety control before and during both simple and complex oral health procedures.

Every patient is different, and the types of anesthesia and sedation necessary vary by patient. Because dental anesthesiologists work only with dental patients, they understand the nature of dental procedures and the most effective means of eliminating pain in and around the mouth, teeth and gums. The ultimate goal of a dental anesthesiologist is to make each dental procedure as comfortable and safe as possible.

If you or one of your dependents will be undergoing a dental procedure in the future, you can work together with your dentist and dental anesthesiologist to develop the pain management plan that is right for you. From light sedation to full general anesthesia, there is most likely an anesthetic strategy that fits your goals and expectations.

Dental Anesthesia for Adults and Children

Before undergoing any type of dental anesthesia or sedation, you will be asked about you or your dependent’s health history and any past complications with anesthesia. At this time, you can also consult with your dentist about any questions or concerns you may have about the sedation process. In some cases, an examination with your primary care provider may be necessary prior to undergoing anesthesia. The dentist may delay administration of anesthesia for children who have had recent vaccinations due to the potential for adverse reactions.

Depending on the nature of your procedure and your health, the dentist will develop a strategy for pain management during your dental treatment. The goal is to ensure there is little or no memory of the procedure and that you are in a very comfortable state for its duration. You may be sedated, which causes a highly depressed state of consciousness, or you may be fully unconscious if under general anesthesia.


Safety is the dentist's number one priority. Specific measures are taken to ensure your health is protected throughout your dental procedure. If you are under general anesthesia, your heart rate, temperature and vital signs will be monitored continuously. Although it is highly unlikely, if an emergency situation were to arise, the dentist is trained to cope with such conditions swiftly and effectively.

Preparing for Sedation or Anesthesia

You will be given a very specific set of pre-operative instructions prior to your procedure. If you will be undergoing anesthesia, it is of utmost importance that you follow these instructions precisely. You can expect the following guidelines:

  • No eating within the eight hours prior to your procedure (Six hours for children under age six).
  • No drinking with two hours prior to your procedure.
  • Reschedule your appointment if you show signs of illness, such as a cold or the flu.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing and a blanket
  • Do not wear cosmetics or nail polish to your procedure
  • An adult must escort you to your appointment and stay throughout the procedure to drive you home following discharge.
  • You may be advised about taking certain medications the day of your procedure.
Go back to Patient Education