The thought of undergoing anesthesia is one of the biggest sources of stress before a visit to the dentist. However, there is nothing to fear from this procedure if you trust the professionals. In fact, anesthesia is a very safe medical procedure.
The team at the Centre Dentaire & d’Implantologie Boucherville is here to explain everything you need to know about the possible types of anesthesia, the side effects of local anesthesia, and the precautions you need to take after undergoing an anesthesia.
What is anesthesia?
Anesthesia is a procedure used before any surgery, big or small. In popular jargon, it is said to “freeze” the mouth. In reality, it numbs the nerves in the part of the body that is to undergo the surgery so that it does not feel pain during the procedure.
Anesthesia is a common practice during medical surgery and is perfectly normal. When talking about surgery, it can be easy to imagine something dramatically impressive. However, anesthesia is used even for common procedures, such as filling a tooth.
Types of anesthesia used in dental care
There are three main types of anesthesia:
- Local anesthesia
- General anesthesia
- Conscious sedation
The first type is the most common type used by dentists. Local anesthesia reduces pain in part or all of the mouth. It is limited to the mouth, so the patient remains awake throughout the procedure. Most dental surgeries use this form of anesthesia.
General anesthesia is the form of anesthesia that includes a controlled loss of consciousness. It is sometimes recommended for dental procedures such as wisdom teeth removal and other major procedures.
Finally, conscious sedation allows the patient to remain conscious while remaining calm and relaxed during the procedure. It is rarely used in dentistry.
Since it is the most common form of anesthesia used in dental care, we will focus on local anesthesia.
Duration, side effects, and allergy to local anesthesia
As a general rule, this form of anesthesia lasts about 2 to 3 hours. In most cases, this is more than enough time to perform the required treatment. If necessary, it is always possible to add anesthetic to prolong the effects of the local anesthesia.
You can therefore be sure that you will not feel anything even if the operation lasts longer than expected.
The side effects of local anesthesia are usually not very important. First of all, while the anesthesia lasts, you may have difficulty eating or speaking. This is directly caused by the numbness in part of your mouth.
Secondly, a hematoma may appear on your cheek at the injection site. This is a rarer side effect, but it is not dangerous. If you see a hematoma forming, there is no need to worry: it will disappear on its own.
The most serious side effect that can occur with local anesthesia is an allergic reaction. In some cases, your body may react badly to the anesthetic products used. This is an extremely rare reaction, but it can be dangerous.
Avoiding this type of reaction is one of the reasons why your dentist keeps a detailed record of your allergies. It is also best to inform your dentist of any medications or prescriptions you are taking so that risks of unexpected reaction can be avoided.
However, even if the allergic reaction is significant, your dentist is qualified and knows how to react to ensure your safety during any unexpected event.
Being mindful after such care
While the side effects of local anesthesia are generally mild, that doesn’t mean there are no precautions to take while you are numb. Since the effect of the anesthesia lasts for a little while after the treatment, it is important to be careful. In general, we advise you to:
- Avoid eating or eat only on the unaffected side
- Be careful with hot food and drinks
Because your mouth is numb, it is very easy to bite the inside of your mouth or burn yourself. To avoid injury, it is best to simply avoid eating while the numbness of anesthesia is still felt. If you can’t refrain from eating, be careful not to chew on the numb side.
There is nothing to fear from anesthesia when it is performed by professionals. Trust the team at the Centre Dentaire & d’Implantologie Boucherville. Make an appointment now!