Why do not you put general anesthesia at the dentist: different types of anesthesia and when each one is used

For some people, going to the dentist is a real torture . Between the pain they feel and the one they expect to feel, the experience can be traumatic, not to mention terribly uncomfortable. Why is it not possible to spend it sleeping? A little bit of general anesthesia and the drink would be much easier to pass, right?

Surely, but anesthesia is not a compound that should be administered lightly . Anesthetizing someone is usually a safe procedure but it has its risks and that is why doctors and anesthetists must be very careful in doing so.

What is anesthesia

Anesthesia is the concept in which the use of drugs to avoid pain during surgeries, extractions, sutures or any other procedure that could be painful for the patient is included.

While it lasts its effect we could suffer damages and not realize

There are different methods of application of anesthesia: superficial in the form of spray, injection or inhalation of gases, but all act in the same way, affecting the nervous system and blocking nerve impulses and therefore pain.

But not only those. Anesthesia blocks all nerve impulses and that’s why when we have an anesthetized part of the body we say we do not feel it. This means that we move it clumsily and that we must be careful not to hurt ourselves, to burn ourselves, to bite if it is in the mouth … Because while its effect lasts we could suffer damages and not realize precisely because of the anesthesia.

Different types of anesthesia

Anesthesia is not always the same and is divided according to the extent of nerve block.

General anesthesia

It is about leaving the patient totally unconscious and to remain in that state throughout the operation, so that neither feel nor remember. It can be applied either intravenously with a needle or by aspirating it through a tube and a mask.

In this anesthesia different medications are combined with a multiple effect : keeping the patient asleep and with the muscles relaxed, which prevents them from moving during the operation, blocking their memories and reducing pain, both during the operation and afterwards at the moment of wake.

After the operation, anesthesia reverses its effect to help awaken the patient.

Regional anesthesia (epidural)

In this case the anesthesia is injected in a way that affects a large group of nerves and numbs an entire region of the body . It is the type of anesthesia that is called epidural and is given to women during labor .

Local anesthesia

In these cases the anesthesia is applied in an injection, spray or cream and it affects a very localized area of ​​the body : a hand, a foot, an area of ​​the skin or the mouth. While the patient is awake and conscious. It is usually used for less invasive procedures and for those performed in an outpatient clinic or hospital without the need for admission. Its effect usually lasts between 2 and 4 hours.

Anesthesia risks

Anesthesia can cause some mild side effects , such as nausea and vomiting, chills or tremors, and throat damage if a tube is used to ensure breathing.

But beyond that, anesthesia is usually a safe procedure for healthy people, but it can pose some risks if there are previous health problems such as alcohol abuse or medication, allergies to some medications, smoking, obesity and overweight or heart, lung or kidney diseases.

In these cases, some risks of anesthesia are a heart attack, vocal cord damage, lung infection, waking up during anesthesia or death (these last two are very rare).

Why do not they use general instead of local?

But then, why do not we sleep at all when we go, for example, to the dentist, and thus save us the bad time?

The ideal is to use the minimum amount of anesthesia needed in each intervention, and not leave us totally unconscious for procedures that do not need it

Because the ideal is to use the minimum amount of anesthesia needed in each intervention , and not leave us totally unconscious for procedures that do not need it.

As we have seen, anesthesia is safe, but it is not totally free of risks, so doctors apply the necessary, but nothing more.

In addition, submitting someone to general anesthesia requires a preoperative procedure that ensures that you are in physical condition to undergo anesthesia and subsequent operation, and a subsequent observation of the process of awakening from anesthesia. If you had to perform these processes at each visit to the dentist, what normally is an intervention of a couple of hours at most would last several days .

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