Is general anesthesia necessary for common dental procedures?

Much of the anxiety that comes with a trip to the dentist is due to the anticipated pain of dental treatments. The thought of getting a cavity filled or a tooth extracted is what keeps many people from even going to the dentist at all! Thankfully, we have several methods for preventing pain (and anxiety)! Additionally, many treatments that used to require major time commitments from the patient and high levels of sedation are now performed with such precision and ease that they can almost done over the course of a lunch break!

Here at our office, we use anxiety-reducing medication, local anesthesia, and mild sedation when necessary. It’s a common belief that you have to be “put under” completely to have a tooth pulled, a root canal, or a dental implant. But fortunately, modern times have allowed for so many advancements in dental technology that these procedures are done in the least-invasive manner possible. So what are some common dental procedures that may have required general anesthesia in the past?

Root Canals

This procedure used to be incredibly invasive, but now we perform it routinely and with ease. It is even sometimes possible to save the tooth that the root canal in performed on, which would be practically unheard of in years past. This treatment is done in 1-3 appointments, depending on your individual case. To reduce anxiety, we can prescribe medication or use nitrous oxide. Just enough is used to calm your nerves during the course of the procedure. We use local anesthesia to ensure that your experience is pain-free.

Mini Dental Implants

Dental implants are a marvel of modern dentistry, and the entire process is streamlined to minimize invasiveness. Implants are a wonderful option if you are looking for a long-term solution to missing teeth and have enough bone density to support the small, titanium rods that act as the roots of your absent teeth. Mini dental implants do not require as much bone density to be present as regular dental implants, and the process is also a bit easier. Implants provide a sustainable longterm structure to support your dentures, bridges, or crowns. As with root canals, we prescribe anti-anxiety medication or use nitrous oxide during the procedure, and local anesthesia for the pain. General anesthesia is not necessary with the ease that the procedure is performed with now.

Tooth Extractions

Tooth extractions can be necessary for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to: correcting bite misalignment, removing the tooth because it is decayed beyond treatment, and pulling wisdom teeth that might cause issues in the future. Here at our office, extracting a tooth is painless and very quick. In most instances, a dental implant with a porcelain crown is the best option for restoration after the procedure. As in the other cases listed above, we do not use general anesthesia for extractions. We use local anesthesia to numb the pain, combined with anxiety-reducing medication.

As you can see, using general anesthesia for common dental procedures is just not necessary in most cases with modern dentistry. With the precision and ease that we are able to perform with now, pain management and anxiety reduction are easily handled with just local anesthesia to numb the area and either Valium or nitrous oxide to keep you comfortable. If you are in need dental treatment, you will be in good hands at our office. We use the latest technology and methods to ensure that your experience is painless and quick. Give us a call today!