Doctor's Answers (1)
Thank you for your question. Dental procedures can be quite terrifying for young children and for some adults with dental phobia. In order for dental procedures to be done comfortably for these individuals, anaesthesia will be required to alter their conscious state so that they can accept dental procedures.
Sedation and general anaesthesia are forms of anaesthesia and differs in the level of altered consciousness. General anaesthesia renders the patient completely unconscious meaning the patient will not be able to see, hear, feel or remember any of the procedures done on them.
With sedation, the patient is still conscious and there are varying levels of consciousness depending on the type of medication used for sedation. Sedation can be divided into mild, moderate, and deep, with the type of sedation chosen by your dentist/oral maxillofacial surgeon for the dental procedure needed. Mild sedation is a relaxed conscious state while deep sedation is a state of being very sleepy and not being aware of your surroundings but may be able to respond to stimuli (e.g being asked to open your eyes).
Simple extractions and minor oral surgical procedures can be performed under sedation. While more extensive oral surgical procedures will be better managed under general anaesthesia. In children, dental procedures such as fillings and extractions can be done under sedation, however, if more extensive work needs to be done and requires the child to stay still for a longer period of time, general anaesthesia may be a better option. Another important consideration on whether a patient is suitable for sedation is their airway, individuals with a narrow airway or a short lower jaw may not be good candidates for sedation as there can be loss of independent airway function during deep sedation and airway and ventilation assistance may be required.
Hope this helps, and all the very best.