What’s the Difference Between Sedation and Anesthesia?


For over a century, the use of anesthesia has helped propel dentistry forward by making extensive dental procedures tolerable. Though the idea is not new, the application and delivery of dental anesthesia has advanced greatly over the years, and the advent of dental sedation has gained a significant importance when dealing with patients who experience one or more forms of dental phobia.  With all the talk, however, some people may be unsure about the difference between dental sedation and anesthesia, or whether there even is a difference. To help clarify matters, we explore the two methods of making your dental procedure more relaxing and comfortable.

Sedation and Local/General Anesthesia

The goal of general anesthesia is typically to render a patient unconscious during treatment, like the general anesthesia used in hospitals for major surgical operations. Typically, general anesthesia is administered through a combination of intravenous (IV) medications and inhaled nitrous oxide gas. Local anesthesia works on the same principle, but in a condensed, localized manner. It is applied only to the area being worked on, such as the periodontal tissues around the site of implant placement or tooth extraction. Dental sedation, on the other hand, allows you to remain conscious while controlling your anxiety and helping you remain relaxed.

Comfortable Dental Care for All of Our Patients

Physical discomfort is not the only hurdle that dental sedation overcomes; many people forego necessary dental treatment out of fear of visiting the dentist—a common phobia whose impact is hard to gauge because people are often unwilling to speak about it. For patients who experience apprehension about dental treatment, but are uncomfortable being unconscious in the dentist’s chair, dental sedation can help them relax and stay calm for the duration of their treatment.

Is Dental Sedation Right for You?

To find out if sedation can help you, speak with Dr. Wright by calling Just Wright Dental Surgery Center in Waxahachie, TX, today at (469) 732-1987.