Local anesthesia refers to a topical and/or injected anesthetic that will affect only the targeted area for a brief period of time to minimize or eliminate sensation or pain in that specific “localized” area during a dental procedure.
Nitrous oxide, sometimes referred to as “laughing gas,” is an effective and safe sedation agent that is inhaled through a mask that fits over your nose to help you relax. Mixed with oxygen, nitrous oxide allows you to breathe normally through your nose, and within minutes you should start to feel the effects. You may feel light-headed or a tingling in your arms and legs. Some patients comment that their legs and arms feel heavy. Ultimately, you should feel comfortable and calm. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off quickly after the small mask is removed. Talk to the doctor about whether nitrous oxide would be a good option for you.
IV sedation/general anesthesia, uses medications to allow the patient to go to sleep while receiving dental treatment. Surgical patients or patients with high levels of anxiety, or special needs may benefit from IV sedation/general anesthesia. The doctor can discuss the benefits of general anesthesia and help patients determine if it is the best choice for them.