What You Should Know About General Anesthesia
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are unique among the surgical specialties with regards to anesthesia training. Every oral and maxillofacial surgeon, during their residency, receives formal anesthesia training with the department of anesthesia. They are taught the skills to safely administer anesthesia to patients. This includes IV sedation, general anesthesia, airway management and intubation techniques. This also includes complete training in Advanced Cardiac Life Support. It is our utmost goal to make your surgical procedure and experience as pleasant and stress free as possible while maintaining the highest levels of safety.
During the initial consultation you and your oral surgeon will discuss the type of procedure involved, your medical history and your level of anxiety. Depending on the type of procedure you are undergoing and the health of your gums, your oral surgeon will either recommend an IV sedation or local anesthetic. The choice of anesthesia is always a personal decision and should be made only after an informative consultation with the oral and maxillofacial surgeon. In addition, during the initial consultation, you will also be given instructions to prepare for surgery such as: wearing loose, comfortable clothing, not having anything to eat or drink for 8 hours prior to surgery, taking all of your regular medications, bringing an escort with you and making arrangements for your recovery at home.
Coming to our office for the day of surgery and anesthesia is no different than having surgery in the hospital and it is often much more welcoming and friendly. The equipment in our surgical suites and recovery room are similar to those used in the hospitals. When you arrive in the surgical suite the nurse or dental assistant will connect you to a number of monitors. These devices are typically a blood pressure cuff, an EKG (electrocardiogram) and a pulse oximeter (a device that painlessly measures both your pulse rate and the amount of oxygen in your blood). Therefore, it is suggested that you wear loose clothing to facilitate the application of these important devices. Your doctor is always on-call at(801) 845-8909, and he can also answer any emergency questions you may have in regards to your care following your surgery. For any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at our offices.
Let’s answer some questions!
What Is General Anesthesia?
In a hospital, general anesthesia is used to perform intricate and invasive surgery procedures, such as having your appendix removed. Most certainly all of us associate hospital general anesthesia with a complex variety of tubes and ventilators as seen on the TV soap operas. The complete relaxation of the musculature and blocking of conscious pain by rendering the patients unconscious allows surgeons to perform very invasive abdominal surgery.
What Is Office Intravenous General Anesthesia And How Does It Differ From Hospital General Anesthesia?
At Jessen Oral Surgery, we use office intravenous general anesthesia. The two are very similar in that patients remain largely unaware during their procedure and they are free from pain and anxiety while the surgery takes place. The two types of anesthesia used during oral surgery procedures include IV (intravenous) sedation and local anesthesia. IV sedation, unlike general anesthesia, puts patients into a relaxed mood, where they are still aware of their surroundings; they are not asleep.
What Is IV (Intravenous) Sedation?
This technique uses similar medications as IV general anesthesia but the patient is not “ASLEEP”. Sedated patients are more aware of their immediate surroundings but are in a relaxed mood.
What Is Local Anesthesia?
A local anesthetic, like Novacaine, is a shot that numbs the mouth or jaw area. With a local anesthetic, a patient is completely alert. Local anesthesia does not decrease the patient’s level of anxiety towards the surgical procedure.
Are There Times When Local Anesthesia Doesn’t Work During Oral Surgical Procedures?
YES. In order for the local anesthetic to work, the tissue pH must be neutral or slightly alkaline. Fortunately, local anesthesia works well in non-infected tissue because normal tissue pH is slightly alkaline. However, many patients whom oral surgeons need to treat have infections which cause the tissue pH around the infected tooth to become acidic. This acidic pH does not allow for optimal effectiveness of the local anesthetic which results in the patient experiencing pain during the extraction. IV office general anesthesia allows the removal of infected teeth without causing distress and pain to the patient because tissue pH is not a factor in its effectiveness. Finally, local anesthesia doesn’t treat the anxiety many patients have associated with dental surgical procedures. IV anesthetics effectively treat dental anxiety and allow for a safer and more comfortable environment for the patient to undergo surgery.
Are There Any Special Requirements For Anesthesia?
YES. No food or liquids taken orally after midnight is recommended. While six to eight hours is suggested as a minimum time of not eating or drinking, each case is evaluated individually. A person who had a recent fatty meal (ie. Bacon and eggs), may require 10 hours with nothing to eat or drink in order to safely perform IV office general anesthesia.
Are There Any Expectations To The Rule Nothing To Eat Or Drink?
YES. Regular medications for heart, blood pressure, seizure disorders, thyroid conditions, ulcers, gastric reflux, and asthma should absolutely be taken with the smallest amount of fluid which easily permits the pill to be swallowed. Patients who require antibiotic premedication should also take their medication with a small amount of water. Patients who are on chronic prednisone therapy may actually need to take more prednisone than they normally would take, please bring your prednisone pills with you to the office.
Are There Patients Who Should Not Take Their Regular Medications?
YES. Patients who have diabetes medications or are taking prednisone, anticoagulants, diet drugs, and anti-hyperactivity drugs should speak with the doctor prior to any surgical procedure. Patients who take anti-hyperactivity drugs and diet medications should not take these medications on the day of surgery. Patients who are insulin-dependent diabetics should be appointed early in the morning and will take 1/2 of their long acting insulin (NPH) and not take their regular insulin dose.
If you have any additional questions please visit our patient information page, contact us through email, or give us a call at (801) 845-8909 so we can answer them as quickly as possible.
My son had his wisdom teeth removed there yesterday. Dr. Jessen and staff were awesome! They did a really good job of making him feel calm and kept me aware of everything. I would definitely recommend anyone who needs oral surgery to go to Dr. jessen. They’re great!