Many patients and practitioners alike are unaware that general anesthesia is available for dental procedures. General Anesthesia for dentistry can be a great benefit to both the practitioner and the patient. Many patients, adults and children alike, are fearful of going to the dentist. Other patients have cognitive or physical disabilities and are unable to cooperate for or tolerate dental procedures. As a result, they don't seek the treatment they may need and their oral health declines, possibly threatening their systemic health. This should not have to happen to anyone.
Some dentists offer oral conscious sedation which is only meant to mildly calm the patient and not meant to render a person unconscious or provide the pain and anxiety management that some people require. Also, when medications are given orally, they require considerable time to take effect, and the response that each patient has varies widely from person to person.
Other dentists offer I.V. conscious sedation. The only difference between this and oral conscious sedation is the route of delivery. An intravenous line is placed and the medications are delivered through the line. However by law, practitioners with IV sedation permits are required to keep the patient "conscious" which is not appropriate for those who require deeper levels of anesthesia.
In both cases above, the monitoring and safety of the patient while sedated are the responsibility of the dentist while they are also performing the dental procedure.
I.V. deep sedation is what is generally administered by oral surgeons or anesthesiologists for procedures like extractions and bone grafts. In this case the medications are also administered through the IV line. The patient is generally unconscious for a limited period of time but not long enough, or is not deep enough to require a breathing tube. This is best for shorter procedures requiring deeper levels of sedation or for moderate dental anxiety.
General anesthesia is the deepest level of anesthesia whereby the patient is completely unconscious for the entire procedure which may be for one to several hours, and in my practice, I place a breathing tube to protect the airway. In general, only anesthesiologists practice this level of anesthesia which is the same as you would receive for any operating room procedure. As in the hospital, the anesthesiologist is dedicated to the patient's medications, monitoring and safety while someone else is performing the procedure which provides the highest level of safety. This is best for long procedures or for the profoundly phobic patient.
I am qualified to provide both IV deep sedation and general anesthesia, with a focus on safe general anesthesia in the dental office for patients of all ages.