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Biggest Anesthesia Myths

If you’re like many people, you probably get a bit nervous at the prospect of having a significant dental procedure like dental implants. Did you know nearly 30 percent of the population avoids the dentist entirely because they have anxiety about dental work?

Unfortunately, many people don’t understand how anesthesia works in the dental setting and a lot of misinformation often leads patients to question the safety of anesthesia. Luckily, the availability of anesthesia or sedation options means you don’t have to stress over having even the simplest dental treatment. Let’s dispel some of the biggest myths associated with anesthesia that is used during a dental procedure.

You Don’t Always Go to Sleep

Dental practices use several types of anesthesia, but only one of them renders you “asleep.” There are four different types of sedation typically used:

  • Local anesthetic is injected into a muscle and tissue. It renders a portion of your mouth numb. You won’t feel pain or discomfort during the dental work, but you will be completely awake and able to respond to directions. This is the type of dental anesthetic with which most dental patients are familiar.
  • Oral sedation involves taking a medication by mouth that helps you relax or doze during your procedure. Patient who are afraid of needles are good candidates for oral sedation.
  • Nitrous oxide gas or “laughing gas” is also used to help patients relax during procedures. Patients inhale gas prior to and during the procedure. Once the gas is turned off and the patient breaths room air, the effects subside quickly. With gas, patients are able to respond to stimuli and follow commands. This is often used for patients who experience anxiety during routine visits.
  • Intravenous sedation puts medicines directly into your bloodstream that cause you to fall asleep, much like you would for a surgical procedure in a hospital. You will have no memory of the dental procedure. At our Vero Beach dental practice, two medics are on standby to assist with IV sedation procedures.

Anesthesia is Completely Safe

Let’s just get right to the heart of the matter. A 2017 study found that 218 deaths came from some sort of sedation between 1955 and 2012. The total number of sedated procedures during that time frame was out of 71,435,282. That’s an extremely low mortality rate. The study goes on to say that patients with compromised health conditions are at the highest risk of serious complications during sedation dentistry.

While sedation isn’t entirely without risk, complications are extremely rare. The majority of patients ease into a relaxed state and have little or no memory of having the procedure. Since the safety risk is so low, patients with anxiety are usually glad sedation is an option.

Insurance Usually Doesn’t Pay for Sedation

According to the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation Education, insurance companies do not pay for sedation services. However, your plan may pay for some non-IV sedation services, depending on what’s being done. For example, if you want to have a periodontal scaling and root planing in your entire mouth during one single appointment, your insurance company may pay for sedation rather than requiring you to have four separate appointments to complete the treatment in your entire mouth.

Even so, At Vero Implants and Periodontics, we’re happy to work with patients who feel they need sedation or anesthesia services to complete their procedure. We don’t want anyone to stress unnecessarily over financial matters. The important thing is ensuring your mouth is healthy!

If you’ve got more questions about anesthesia at our dentist in Vero Beach, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to answering your questions and addressing your concerns about dental anesthesia. Call us at 772-569-9700 to schedule an appointment!