The Difference between General Anesthesia and IV Sedation

The Difference between General Anesthesia and IV Sedation

Jan 20, 2020

Numerous dental procedures are done under the effects of anesthesia or sedation, but many patients don’t know the difference between the two terms. In dentistry, anesthesia refers to medication given to a patient to numb the senses and ensure an individual does not feel pain. Sedation, on the other hand, is administered to keep an individual calm.

While they possess some similarities, general anesthesia and IV sedation are quite different from one another. This short article will explain the difference between the two, so you better understand what happens during dental treatment.

General Anesthesia

When a patient is given general anesthesia, they are administered a combination of inhaled gas and medication to render them unconscious. While unconscious, the patient does not feel pain and does not move, facilitating more in-depth treatment like wisdom tooth extraction or complex oral surgery.

It is rare for a patient to receive full anesthesia in modern dental care. The majority of dentists prefer to use localized medication to reduce pain in a specific region, ensuring you remain awake and alert during the treatment. However, it can be used for particularly long or painful procedures, or when a patient has an intense reaction of fear or anxiety to dental care.

IV Sedation

Intravenous sedation is when liquid medication is inserted directly into a patient’s veins using specialized equipment. During this procedure, a patient feels the effects of the medication immediately, and it is easy for the dentist and other staff to control how affected the individual is.

IV sedation can be used for a variety of dental procedures like wisdom tooth extraction and does not render a patient unconscious. It can also be used to calm patients who are prone to fear or anxiety when visiting the dentist.

Which One Do You Need?

When you visit us at Pediatric Dental Wellness in Houston, we administer general anesthesia as well as IV sedation, depending on your situation and personal preference. It is important to inform us about any medications or drugs you are taking at the time of your appointment.