Anesthesia for a dental or other examination

This document applies to healthcare for otherwise healthy children (2 and up) and adults who do not cooperate or have difficulty tolerating a procedure.

Anesthesia involves numbing the area and/or sending the patient to sleep during a medical procedure. This can take the form of general anesthesia, which requires monitoring vital signs; local anesthesia to numb a certain area; or analgosedation, which involves administering an analgesic for pain and/or inducing sleep. During general anesthesia the patient may be sent to sleep by taking several breaths to inhale anesthetic gas (mainly children) or administering anesthesia through an intravenous (IV) line. After this the patient is in a deep sleep and does not remember the procedure. This is the safest type of anesthesia for any procedures that require keeping the airway free.

Vital signs are monitored during every type of anesthesia. The patient is brought out of the induced sleep on the operating table and then allowed to sleep and wake naturally in a pleasant environment. You should anticipate one hour of quiet sleep after anesthesia. The IV cannula, if used, is removed from the arm before the patient is released to home care.

The patient can be released into an accompanying person’s care to recover at home no sooner than two hours after the examination ends. It takes three to six hours for the anesthesia to wear off fully, so patients should be watched closely during that time!

More information about anesthesia during dental procedures is available in this document. Please print out and complete the anesthesiology questionnaire and patient informed consent form before the procedure.

We put together a short video to give you a better idea of how anesthesia works.