The ability to provide mild sedation, moderation sedation, or even general anesthesia in an outpatient dental office increases access to care for an increasingly diverse patient population. While a majority of the population can still receive routine dental care under local anesthesia, the growing complexity and length of certain dental procedures may warrant the use of a more sophisticated level of anesthesia and analgesia.
Historically, the high costs associated with providing dental care in an operating room setting at a hospital precluded the use of advanced techniques in anesthesia for dentistry. Dentist anesthesiologists now bring what is currently an unsurpassed level of safe sedation and general anesthesia directly to a dental office at a lower cost. This eliminates the need to bring a large amount of dental equipment to the hospital and to perform the procedure on an uncomfortable operating room table as opposed to a dental chair in the comfort of one’s own office. With extensive knowledge in both dentistry and anesthesiology, dentist anesthesiologists can specifically tailor the level of anesthesia to meet the needs of both the patient and the dentist. For example, certain steps in dental-surgical procedures require varying degrees of patient cooperation, such as checking occlusion, taking impressions requiring soft tissue border molding, or taking a bite registration. A dentist anesthesiologist can anticipate these needs and adjust the depth of anesthesia accordingly throughout the different stages of treatment, allowing for a seamless operative experience. Improved efficiency translates into the ability to complete a treatment plan that would normally take multiple appointments in fewer or even a single appointment.