Types Of Dental Anesthesia And When Dentists Use Them

What comes to your mind when you think about getting a dental appointment? Do you feel dental anxiety or excruciating pain? Well, if you nodded in affirmation, then we are pleased to inform you that these are things of the past. This is because we now have a wide array of anesthesia and related knowledge. Over 175 years of knowledge, discoveries, and trial and errors made modern anesthesia possible and dental operations comfortable for you. Therefore, let’s discuss a few types of dental anesthesias and how a dentist uses them.

The General Classification:

We can divide the different types of dental anesthesias into three broad categories, namely:

  • Local Anesthesia.
  • General Anesthesia.
  • Sedation.

A dentist uses the appropriate form of anesthesia depending upon the surgery and the individual.

Local Anesthesia:

These chemicals interfere with the nervous system of the area on which they are applied. Thus, the area becomes numb, and you won’t feel a thing. Generally, local anesthesia doesn’t last long and its effect is limited to the applied region. Fortunately, these properties make it suitable for minor and easy procedures.

Dentists administer local anesthesia either through topical application or by injecting it. Moreover, for topical application, the dentist can use gel or cream. Similarly, a dentist can also inject the mixture using a dental syringe.

Local anesthesia usually lasts for about an hour or a half. Thus, a dentist may mix it with vasopressor to prolong its effect. Moreover, vasopressor restricts the action of anesthesia to the applied region. However, using local anesthesia might not be the best course of action for every operation or individual. Therefore, in such a scenario, dentists use general anesthesia or sedation.

General Anesthesia:

We all know that dental anxiety and fear are significant issues interfering with a smooth dental operation. However, dentists came up with a solution for that too in the form of general anesthesia. General anesthesia “knocks you out,” so you transit into a deep sleep. While you enjoy your dreams, your dentist gets the whole operation done and dusted. Thus, you wake up relaxed, with no pain and no memory of the process.

A dentist can give these medicines through IV or by using a face mask. After the anesthesia has taken its hold, your muscle will relax, and you will feel no pain. Thus, general anesthesia makes lengthy dental procedures more blissful and bearable for you.


Sedation has several levels, from mild to deep. Therefore, you can be either fully conscious, barely conscious, or something in between. Sedation also helps to relieve dental anxiety.

Laughing gas is a commonly used mild sedative in dental procedures. Laughing gas, also known as nitrous oxide, helps relieve anxiety and dulls the pain. Dentists administer it using a face mask. Interestingly, the effect of laughing gas wears off almost immediately after the mask is removed. Luckily, you won’t endure any prolonged effects from sedation.


It takes a tremendous amount of skill and knowledge to know which type of anesthesia to use for a procedure. For that reason, always visit an experienced and skilled dentist like Brenham Family Dental for dental checkups. You can call us at 979-421-9685 for more inquiries or to schedule an appointment.

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