Anesthesia & Pain Management

About Anesthesia

Anesthesia as an outpatient in our office can vary from local anesthesia to true general anesthesia.

  • Local Anesthesia (Numbing)
  • Intravenous Sedation (Partially Asleep)
  • General Anesthesia (Fully Asleep)

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are unique among the surgical specialties with regard to anesthesia training. Your doctor has advanced training in all aspects of anesthesia and emergency care. During residency training oral and maxillofacial surgeons receive formal anesthesia training within the department of anesthesia in the hospital. They are taught the skills required to safely administer anesthesia to adults and children. This includes I.V. sedation, general anesthesia, airway management and intubation techniques. This also includes complete training in Advanced Cardiac Life Support. To ensure patient safety, most states have very strict guidelines regarding the administration of anesthesia in the office. Your doctor, as most oral and maxillofacial surgeons, follow the guidelines and protocols set forth by our state medical and dental regulatory body. By doing so, our office is regularly inspected. All office staff members are certified in CPR. It is our utmost goal to make your surgical experience as pleasant and stress free as possible while maintaining the highest levels of safety.

Many patients can have their procedures safely and comfortably completed using a local anesthetic to “numb” the area that is to be treated. For those people wishing to be sedated so that they are unaware of the surgery, I.V. sedation or general anesthesia is offered. All forms of I.V. sedation and general anesthesia are administered by our surgeons.

During your initial consultation, you and your surgeon will discuss the proposed treatment, review your medical history and assess your level of anxiety. Some procedures, due to their nature, require the use of general anesthesia or IV sedation, whereas others are best accomplished under local anesthesia. The choice of anesthesia is often a personal decision and should be made only after consultation with the oral and maxillofacial surgeon. In addition, during the initial consultation, you will be given instructions to prepare for surgery (Pre-operative Instructions) such as: wearing loose, warm and comfortable clothing, not having anything to eat or drink for six hours prior to your appointment, taking all of your regular medications with a small sip of water, bringing an escort with you and making arrangements for your recovery at home.

Although most of the modern anesthetic medications are kind to the stomach and do not produce nausea, occasionally just the anxiety that one has about having surgery can generate a queasy feeling in ones stomach. A patient who becomes sick with a full stomach could present a potentially dangerous scenario during anesthesia. Therefore, it is important to follow all pre-operative instructions! The medications used for sedation persist in the blood stream for up to 24 hours. Therefore it is understood that you WILL NOT operate a vehicle or operate machinery for 24 hours after being under sedation or general anesthesia.  Our surgeons are available to answer any specific concerns that you may have about anesthesia.

The benefits of general anesthesia and/or intravenous sedation include a decrease or elimination of anxiety and awareness during surgery. This translates into near or total amnesia of the procedure, lack of noise perception and no discomfort. It is important to note that patients that are given only local anesthetic to “numb” the area or who undergo light intravenous sedation may feel occasional pressure.

Coming to our office the day of your procedure is no different than having surgery in your own hospital and it is often much easier. The equipment in our surgical suites and recovery rooms are similar to those used in the hospitals. When you arrive in the surgical suite the surgical assistant will apply a number of monitors. Safe anesthesia requires the use of several non-invasive monitors that we will attach to you. These devices are typically a blood pressure cuff, an EKG (electrocardiogram) and a pulse oximeter (a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood). Therefore, it is suggested that you wear loose clothing to facilitate the application of these important devices.  We usually have you breath Nitrous Oxide and Oxygen to help you relax prior to starting an intravenous line (IV). Medications will be given through the IV to cause you to relax or sleep. After the surgery is complete, a surgical assistant will bring you back to the recovery area. At this time, the surgical assistant will review with you and your escort all of the post-operative instructions and answer any questions either of you may have in regards to the care of your mouth.  Our surgeons are on-call and can answer any after hour emergency questions you may have in regards to your care following surgery.