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Sedation & Anesthesia



If the thought of seeing your dentist gives you the weebie jeebies, anesthetic may be the option for you. Sedation dentistry uses a combination of techniques, ranging from nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” to general anesthesia, to relax a patient during surgeries or otherwise uncomfortable appointments.  An injection of local anesthesia can last up to several hours. After you leave the dentist’s office, you may find it difficult to speak clearly or eat.


Dental Anesthesia Procedure 

Preparation – If you need anesthesia at your next appointment, your dentist will dry part of your mouth with air or use cotton rolls then swab the area with a gel to numb the skin.
Injection – Next, your dentist will slowly inject the local anesthetic into the gum tissue. Most people don’t feel the needle. Instead, the sting they feel is caused by the anesthetic moving into the tissue.
After effects – An injection of local anesthesia can last up to several hours. Be careful not to bite down on the area that is numbed. You could cause damage to yourself without realizing it.

Local anesthetics are the most common drug used in the dental offices. Side effects are very rare. One possible side effect is a hematoma. This is a blood-filled swelling. It can form when the injection needle hits a blood vessel. The numbing medicine sometimes causes numbness outside of the targeted area. If this happens, your eyelid or mouth can droop. You will recover when the drug wears off. If you are unable to blink, you may need to have your eye taped shut until the numbness wears off.

The anesthetic usually lasts for only a couple of hours. In some people, the vasoconstrictor drug can cause the heart to beat faster. This lasts only a minute or two. Tell your doctor if this has ever happened to you. Finally, the needle can injure a nerve. This can lead to numbness and pain for several weeks or months. The nerve usually heals over time.

Typical Costs

Anesthesia typically is covered by health insurance for medically necessary procedures. For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs for anesthesia can consist of coinsurance of about 10% to 50%. For patients without health insurance, the cost of anesthesia can range from less than $500 for a local anesthetic administered in an office setting to $500-$3,500 or more for regional anesthesia and/or general anesthesia administered by an anesthesiologist and/or certified registered nurse anesthetist in a hospital operating room. 

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