Dentistry, and specifically Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, has made significant contributions to the art and science of anaesthesia. Horace Wells, an American Dentist, is often quoted as being the discoverer of anesthesiology. Horace Wells discovered the benefits of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, which continues to be used today in both medicine and dentistry.
Many patients do not look forward to a trip to the dentist’s office, and even fewer look forward to having a tooth removed. Due to these fears, necessary treatment is often delayed or ignored. The Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon has received extensive training in the areas of pain and anxiety control. These measures will usually include local anaesthesia, or “freezing”. For longer or more complicated procedures, various methods can also be used to help keep patients comfortable. These techniques can involve the administration of sedative drugs through oral, inhalational or intravenous routes. Intravenous sedation is often employed and is usually accomplished through the administration of one or more drugs that will produce a calm and relaxed state. While patients may be aware of their surroundings, they are generally relaxed and in many cases will not remember the procedure itself. Intravenous anaesthesia involves the administration of several medications with the aim of producing a state of total unawareness.
In order to safely provide such advanced care, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have received specific training throughout their career. Their offices are usually a little different from a general dentist’s as they need to have extra equipment in order to safely provide anaesthesia services. In many cases, the offices will resemble a hospital operating room. Additionally, the staff will also include registered nurses who will provide assistance during and after your procedure. Each province in Canada has specific guidelines that Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons must follow in order to provide such care in their offices, and many provinces issue a site permit that signifies compliance with these regulations.
Your surgeon will thoroughly discuss your anesthetic management prior to your procedure, and will review the risks and benefits of each approach. Rest assured, it is our goal to provide a safe and comfortable experience.