Dental Anesthesia Options — What Are Your Options, Which Should You Choose & How To Find A Dentist That Offers It

Audrey Barton
3 min readNov 29, 2021

Let’s face it — most people have trouble with the idea of getting dental work done.

It’s usually not very pleasant, even if your dentist is the nicest person on the planet.

Having someone reach into your mouth and start working with power tools, no matter how carefully, just isn’t enjoyable.

To make it worse, what’s unpleasant for most people can be an absolute nightmare for individuals with special needs.

Thankfully, it’s such a common problem that there are solutions — mostly in the form of advanced anesthesia.

What Are Your Options?

There are four types of sedation available when you’re getting dental work done — if you know where to look.

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You’re probably familiar with this, and it’s the most common solution.

Localized freezing or numbing, injected directly into your gums.

It works… But it’s often unpleasant.

2. Oral Conscious

Take a chill pill — more or less.

A pill provided by your dentist and taken half an hour before your procedure will keep you calm, relaxed, and probably drowsy.

You won’t feel any pain, and you may not even remember much of your visit.

3. IV Sedation

A quick poke with an IV needle, and you get the painkillers delivered directly into your bloodstream.

Undoubtedly effective — you’ll remain conscious, but remember almost nothing.

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4. General Anesthesia

The heavy-hitter option, for those who want to drift gently off to sleep, and wake up when it’s all over.

Often used for patients with special needs, and those with an extreme fear of the dentist.

Which Should You Choose?

This will depend on your unique situation.

You need to consider a number of things, such as how scared you are of the dentist, if you wish to remain conscious, or want to forget the procedure.

Cost may also be a consideration, and not all of the treatments are available at every dentist.

Where Can You Find These Options?

Some options are more difficult to find than others.

If you want localized freezing, absolutely any dentist will have you covered.

Oral conscious, or “chill pills”, are also offered at many dental clinics, though not all.

Some dentists will also provide nitrous oxide along with the pill, which will help to smooth out any rough bits in your procedure.

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IV sedation and general anesthesia are specialty procedures, and you won’t find these at your local dentist.

They require an anesthesiologist on staff, and most dental offices just aren’t equipped.

Your best bet is to look for a dentist who specializes in special needs patients.

These dentists are set up to provide you with the most comfortable experience possible, and all the anesthesia options you could possibly wish for.

Forget Fearing The Dentist

Photo by Quang Tri NGUYEN on Unsplash

Being scared of the dentist is a thing of the past — at least since special needs dentistry came into existence.

They design their entire offices and practice around keeping people comfortable, and they do a good job of it, too.

Don’t let fear hold you back — just find the right dentist.