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Anesthesia used in Dentistry– Part 3: Anesthesia Preparation

Anesthesia makes it possible to have comfortable, pain-free procedures.  The idea of being under nitrous oxide, oral sedation, IV sedation, general anesthesia and sometimes even local anesthesia may make some patient’s nervous.  Being prepared and knowing what to expect can help alleviate some of the stress of anticipation.   If you simply need local anesthesia  to accomplish your treatment, as long as you have provided an honest and thorough medical history, and follow all  instructions, you should be just fine.   If a higher level of anesthesia is required, then a few extra steps are necessary.  While complex procedures require a brief hospitalization, the majority of procedures can safely be performed in an outpatient or office setting.  The following steps may be necessary if anesthesia beyond local anesthetic is required.

  1. Arrange for transportation and after care. You won’t be allowed to drive yourself home.  Your surgery may be cancelled if you do not have a driver..  Arrange ahead of time for a friend or family member to bring you to your appointment, since most offices will require your ride to be present at the time of surgery.  Aftercare can also be necessary as many patients are not up to the task after surgery.  Additionally, anesthesia can make people a little forgetful.  Having someone present who can remember all of the post-operative can be crucial in the hours that follow your procedure
  2. Come in comfortable clothing. I tell my patients to where a short sleeve shirt and comfortable pants or shorts.  Pajamas are also perfectly acceptable when you’re having sedation, as long as you have a short sleeve shirt.  Your doctor will need to apply patient monitors to help keep you safe and these monitors are easier to apply with short sleeves.
  3. Do not eat or drink anything for 8 hours prior to surgery. Exceptions can be made for certain situations, but if so your doctor will tell you.
  4. Follow your oral surgeon’s instructions regarding medications.  Make sure your doctor knows of all medications that you take, including all prescriptions, over the counter medication,  vitamins and natural or homeopathic medications.   If you take prescription medications, make sure your doctor tells you which medications to take and which to skip.  Knowing which medications to take (such as blood pressure meds) can be as important as which medications to skip.  If you need to take a pill in the morning, then a small sip of water can be used if needed.
  5. Notify your doctor if there have been changes to your past medical history or new illnesses. This includes new medications, test results, diagnoses and illnesses.  Often a small cold doesn’t have to mean that your surgery will need to be rescheduled, but your doctor still needs to know, no matter how insignificant you think it may be.  Your safety is critical  and the more relevant  information you provide  the better your opportunity for a great outcome.

In our office, we will provide a thorough verbal and written description of all pre and post  surgery  instructions.  If you have any questions though, feel free to call, text or email.