Anesthesia and sedation are used in dental procedures to prevent pain and help patients relax. There are several types of anesthesia that help create a relaxed dental visit and offset discomfort, with the three main categories being:
The first type of anesthesia is known as a non-narcotic analgesic. These are anesthetics taken to numb pain that may have resulted from a dental treatment or a toothache. Non-narcotic analgesics include aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen.
There are also narcotic analgesics that relieve pain by acting on the central nervous system. These analgesics typically contain codeine.
This is the second type of anesthesia your doctor may talk to you about. There are two types of local anesthesia that may be used: topical anesthetic and injectable anesthetic.
A topical anesthetic is applied with a cotton swab to a specific area in order to prepare it for an injectable anesthetic.
An injectable anesthetic is often used in procedures such as filling cavities, treating gum disease and preparing teeth for crowns. This anesthetic blocks nerves that transmit and sense pain, and also numbs the mouth tissues.
This is used in more complex procedures, where patients are given drugs that induce a loss of feeling and reduced consciousness.
General anesthesia is also recommended for dental procedures on children or people who experience anxiety.