Anesthesia enhances your dental experience in several ways, from keeping your treatment area numb to making you generally more calm and relaxed. James McMenamin, DMD, a highly regarded oral surgeon, offers a variety of anesthesia options at his practice in Warren, New Jersey. To learn more, call the office or request a visit online today.
If you’re getting dental work that might cause pain or discomfort in your mouth, Dr. McMenamin injects your gums or inner cheek around your treatment site with a shot of local anesthesia. The injection most often contains a drug called lidocaine, though there are a few other anesthetics that dentists use with similar effects.
When you get an injection of local anesthesia, Dr. McMenamin dries your injection site with a cotton swab, rubs it with a numbing gel to minimize any discomfort you may experience from the shot. The numbing agent takes effect in a matter of minutes, after which you won’t feel any pain in the area during your procedure.
You’ll be numb for several hours after your injection, which means that you’ll most likely leave the office numb. The medication eventually wears off on its own, but you need to be careful to not accidentally bite down in that area of your mouth during that time.
If you have dental anxiety, Dr. McMenamin can give you nitrous oxide before your treatment to help you relax. Nitrous oxide is a gas that you inhale through a mask. The mask fits securely over your nose and leaves your mouth accessible, enabling you to wear the mask throughout your entire procedure.
Nitrous oxide is odorless and begins to work within a matter of minutes. It’s a conscious sedative, meaning that it won’t make you sleep, but it will make you feel calmer and at ease. Some patients even get the giggles, hence its nickname, “laughing gas.”
After your procedure, Dr. McMenamin runs pure oxygen through your mask to help flush the nitrous oxide from your system. This process typically takes about 15 minutes, after which you’ll feel back to normal. You might want to arrange for somebody to drive you home from your procedure, though.
IV sedation or IV anesthesia is another form of conscious sedation, but it has a slightly stronger effect. It’s administered through an intravenous (IV) drip, so it goes directly into your bloodstream and works quickly. Dr. McMenamin can also more precisely adjust the level of sedation you’re receiving while he’s administering it.
Even though it doesn’t put you to sleep, IV sedation has a more amnesiac affect, so you won’t remember much about your procedure. You might also be slightly groggy after your treatment, so you’ll need to arrange for somebody to drive you home.
To learn more about how the different types of anesthesia can improve your experience at the dentist, request a visit with Dr. McMenamin today by calling his office or requesting an appointment online.