Anesthesia and Oral Surgery

Anesthesia is an integral part of every oral surgical procedure. You will be offered several choices of anesthesia ranging from Local Anesthesia, Nitrous Oxide Analgesia, IV Sedation or General Anesthesia.  All decisions are made with your safety and comfort as our top priority.

Anesthesia: A Spectrum of Options

Local Anesthetic

Local anesthetics are used in nearly all oral surgical procedures. These medicines are administered directly to the surgical site and numb the tissue so that you are comfortable during the procedure.  

Photo of local anesthesia bottle and needle

Oral Sedatives

For some people, the use of an oral sedative about an hour before the procedure can help with anxiety. Local anesthesia is then used to numb the surgical site.

Photo of dental patient about to take oral sedation pill

Nitrous Oxide (“Laughing Gas”)

Commonly known as “laughing gas”, this treatment involves a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen, administered through a nasal mask. You are conscious but relaxed. Nitrous oxide provides some pain-relief,  it is always used in conjunction with local anesthesia for your comfort.

Photo of dental patient with mask on her face receiving nitrous oxide

IV Sedation (“Conscious Sedation”)

This type of sedation is very comfortable, and doesn’t involve a lengthy recovery phase like general anesthesia. With “conscious sedation”, you are awake (or drifting in and out of awareness) for the procedure, but you are comfortable and calm, and may have limited memory of the surgery. This type of sedation, administered through an IV in our office, is a safe and effective way to perform procedures on patients who have anxiety about surgery. 

Photo of IV bag

General Anesthesia

For patients who prefer General Anesthesia (“going to sleep”) we utilize Short Hills Surgery Center and Livingston Surgery Center.  Board certified anesthesiologists will perform the anesthesia ensuring your comfort and safety during your procedure.  Patients with complicated medical conditions may require that their procedure be done at Saint Barnabas Medical Center.

Photo of dental patient resting in dental chair

A Summary of your Options

Anesthesia Type Asleep or Awake Need a Ride Home Fasting Required
Local Anesthesia Awake No No
Oral Sedatives Awake but Relaxed Yes No
Nitrous Oxide Awake but Relaxed No No
IV  Sedation Conscious but Little Memory Yes Yes
General Anesthesia Asleep Yes Yes

Anesthesia: What to Expect

  • Fast: No food or drink 6 hours prior to your procedure if you are having IV sedation or general anesthesia.
  • Bring a companion: You will need a responsible adult to accompany you to your appointment and drive you home following IV or general sedation, or if you are taking oral sedatives.
  • Comfort and Care: We will make you comfortable before, during and after your procedure using the discussed anesthesia plan.
  • Visit our Before Anesthesia page for complete instructions.

If you have any concerns about an upcoming procedure, please give us a call. We are here to answer any questions you may have to ensure the best experience possible.