General Anesthesia in Dentistry

Modern dentistry allows to ensure qualitative and comfortable dental treatment for all patients.

In some cases, teeth are treated under general anesthesia. The decision on the necessity for such procedure shall be made by the dentist based on the anamnesis collected and the oral cavity examination. Prior to the procedure performance, the patient shall have a thorough medical check including ECG.

In what cases should dental treatment be provided under general anesthesia?

Dental treatment under general anesthesia is applied for the following medical reasons:

  • central nervous system disease that does not allow for dental treatment under local anesthesia;
  • severe jitteriness or panic-driven fear related to a dental chair that the patient cannot tough it out;
  • significant vomiting reflex in response to dental manipulations;
  • a patient’s sensitivity reaction to the anesthetic agent used for local anesthesia;
  • the necessity for extensive treatment or complex surgical interference for dental problem isolation that should be performed under general anesthesia.

In the latter instance, the dentist is able to treat a large number of teeth in a single attendance, and this will free a person of finding time for several attendances to the dental clinic.

Dental practitioners prescribe general anesthesia in the following complicated cases:

it is necessary to remove a third molar with a complex root including non-erupted one but causing pain;

a patient has several complex teeth that cannot be restored, and there is an urgent necessity to remove them;

the implantation with additional methods of rehabilitation of increased complexity is required.

The patients that have no medical grounds for dental treatment under general anesthesia, and if they do not want to experience the uncomfortable sensations that inevitably arise in the course of performance of different dental procedures, may ask the dentist to prescribe it. In the absence of contraindications, the dentist will treat or remove teeth under general anesthesia.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Dental Treatment under General Anesthesia

The significant advantages of dental treatment under general anesthesia are the following:

More teeth may be removed and treated under general anesthesia in comparison with local anesthesia. Therefore, the procedure is recommended when complex and extensive dental treatment is required.

General anesthesia allows to perform all manipulations more quickly. The dentist need not to constantly be distracted in order to overcome the patient's fear, and he may completely focus on the procedure of tooth treatment or removal.

Calm atmosphere allows dentist to provide better treatment. The patient that is under general anesthesia will not move or close his / her mouth unexpectedly for the doctor at the sight of a dental appliance. Therefore, the dental practitioner shall perform all manipulations in a comfortable environment which significantly reduces the risk of accidental injury to gingival or buccal mucosa.

A visit to the dentist does not trigger patient's negative emotions, and this will allow to gradually overcome the fear of dentist's rooms. Subsequently, such a person will calmly come for preventive examinations, and, if necessary, he / she will treat his / her teeth under local anesthesia. Before waking the patient up following anesthesia, all dental appliances and used materials must be taken away.

Following general anesthesia, the patient does not feel pain, tingling, or he / she does not have gingiva hot feeling that often occurs following local anesthesia.

The procedure is safe. Usage of general anesthesia always involves a certain risk. However, prior to the procedure performance, the patient shall have a thorough medical check, have his / her samples taken and does an ECG, and, in the presence of chronic conditions, he / she consults specialists. A qualified anesthesiologist shall make patient-specific calculations of the licensed drug dose strengths and monitor the vital signs of such a patient in the course of treatment.

Complete controllability quickly returns to the patient. Following administration of the drug for general anesthesia, the patient falls asleep gently. He / she may be easily woken up, and all the reflexes return to normal in 15 minutes. At dental clinic, the patient is given a free hand to have a rest for the necessary period of time. Then he / she may go home. It is not recommended to drive a vehicle following the procedure.

In the United States and in other countries, dental treatment under general anesthesia is usually carried out for all children under the age of 7. According to American pediadontists, it is difficult for such kids to sit in one position with their mouth open for a long time. General anesthesia offers dentist the opportunity to perform all procedures in a quality manner in calm environment. In addition, no harm is done to the kid’s psyche.

The disadvantages of dental treatment under general anesthesia are the following:

Some patients, following general anesthesia recovery, may experience side effects in the form of dizziness, nausea, vomiting and, in very rare cases, confusion. In order to avoid such consequences, the patient should inform his / her dentist at a preliminary consultation related to all chronic conditions and medications that are taken on a regular basis. If necessary, prior to general anesthesia application, the doctor will refer the patient for examination to specialty physicians.

It is necessary for the patient to be specially prepared for the procedure. He / she must not eat 6 hours prior to its beginning, he / she may drink only still water, and 4 hours prior to its beginning – the patient is not allowed even to drink water.

The procedure is very expensive.

Dental manipulations under general anesthesia must be performed only by the clinics that have obtained a license for such treatment delivery and for storage of the medicines necessary for its delivery. They must have an experienced anesthesiologist on a full-time basis. Our clinic meets the above mentioned requirements!

What types of general anesthesia are used in dentistry?

The following types of general anesthesia are used in dental clinics:

Inhalation

A laryngeal mask airway is put on the patient, a gas mixture is supplied through it and makes him / her asleep.

Intravenous

A drug is injected through an intravenous catheter which the anesthesiologist selects for the patient with the consideration of the age and the medical state.

During dental treatment procedure, the anesthesiologist monitors all vital signs of the patient.

Who is contraindicated for general anesthesia in the course of dental treatment?

Dental manipulations under general anesthesia, as well as any medical procedure, have contraindications. There are few of them:

  • pregnancy;
  • serious cardiac diseases;
  • vascular diseases;
  • diseases of the respiratory system in acute form;
  • respiratory diseases or injuries due to which nose breathing is impossible.

The procedure shall not be performed for the persons that take addictive substances or those that experience hangover following alcohol consumption.

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