Dental Health Topics

General Anesthesia, First 30 Minutes - Dental Procedure Code Description

This dental procedure code applies to the use of anesthetic drugs to render a person unconscious during a dental procedure.

This type of general anesthesia is considered deep sedation. It's commonly used when a person is unable to cooperate during a procedure, as in the case of special needs individuals, or in cases where significant pain and discomfort is expected as part of the procedure.
General anesthesia works by depressing the autonomic nervous system to such a state that protective reflexes that would normally come into play during a surgery are prevented from occurring.

Essentially, with this type of deep sedation, an individual is placed into a medically induced coma.
General anesthesia has many purposes including:
  • Analgesia — loss of response to pain
  • Amnesia — loss of memory
  • Immobility — loss of motor reflexes
  • Unconsciousness — loss of consciousness
  • Skeletal muscle relaxation.
General anesthesia in a dental setting is typically administered intravenously (IV), but can also be given as a gas that is inhaled.

Because IV administered sedation is more rapid, however, and can reduce complications such as vomiting and irregular respiration, many anesthetists prefer to sedate intravenously. 
A variety of drugs can be used to induce this level of unconsciousness, and because it renders an individual medically comatose, breathing assistance via tubing or a mask is necessary.

Occasionally, an anesthetist may pre-medicate a person to allow the anesthetic to function more efficiently, or to aid in the patient's overall comfort going into, or coming out of anesthesia. Such pre-medications may include Clonidine and Melatonin.
This code covers only the first 30 minutes of sedation, additional fifteen minute increments are billed using a code denoted for anesthesia administration specific to those 15 minute intervals.

To look up and find more CDT dental codes from the American Dental Association, please visit our complete Dental Procedure Code Library.