Learn about the training and experience needed in the control of pain and anxiety and the benefits of office-based anesthesia.
Most people are familiar with going to sleep for certain medical and surgical procedures. Many people discuss being put to sleep for their wisdom tooth removals. By and large it was oral and maxillofacial surgeons who brought this level of anesthetic comfort to the dental industry. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons go through many months of extra, specialized training in order to learn the details of anesthesia management. In fact, the only doctors that receive more formal education in anesthesia than oral and maxillofacial surgeons are anesthesiologists themselves.
Many anesthesia techniques result in the patient considering themselves asleep. The standard technique, used to put patients to sleep for the vast majority of oral surgery procedures around the country, is similar to that used for colonoscopies. It is a combination of medicines, given through an I.V., that heavily sedate the patient. One of these medicines has a powerful effect on the memory centers of the brain and causes the patient to have minimal to no recollection of their surgery. This level of anesthesia is especially safe because the patient is still capable of participating in vital, protective reflexes, such as coughing or swallowing. No breathing tube needs to be placed into the patient’s windpipe, so there are few, sore, hoarse throats after surgery. These medicines wear off very quickly after surgery, so there is less grogginess, nausea, and hangover effect compared to anesthesia administered in the hospital operating room. Both surgeons at Bedford Bedford Associates in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery use some of the most modern medications available to perform I.V. sedation. These medications have been custom made by the pharmaceutical companies for this type of anesthesia. These medications are very effective, very safe, very rapidly acting, and relatively easy to reverse.
The anesthesia safety record of the entire specialty of oral and maxillofacial surgery is exceptional. The anesthesia safety record of all of the surgeons at Bedford Associates in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is no exception. Part of the reason for this is that a large number of oral surgery patients are young, otherwise healthy, people. Another reason for this is that the doctors at the practice insist on a preoperative consultation visit, so as to identify and address any specific medical issues that a patient may have, that could lead to a problem under anesthesia. This way, dangerous problems can be avoided before they even occur. This level of preoperative evaluation allows older, less healthy patients to receive the same I.V. sedation as our younger patients, yet still maintain optimal safety.
We do not rest on the laurels of our excellent anesthesia safety record. Our emergency carts are exemplary in their contents. Both automatic (A.E.D.) and manual (“the paddles”) defibrillators are immediately available, if necessary. Any and all necessary emergency medications are on hand, as well. Backup lighting, suction, and oxygen systems are in place in case of power outages or other failures of the primary systems. Both surgeons maintain certification in Advanced Cardiac Life Support from the American Heart Association. All of the office personnel, including clerical staff, are certified in Basic Life Support from the American Heart Association, which includes CPR and AED skills.
About 25% of our patients choose not to go to sleep for their surgery. Some patients simply do not like being put to sleep. Both doctors at the practice respect the wishes of their patients and, if the difficulty of the surgery is not so great as to require I.V. sedation, they will be happy to perform the surgery without it. Both surgeons are happy to offer a variety of other anesthetic options such as sedative oral medications and nitrous oxide (i.e. laughing gas, happy gas, sweet air). With all of our surgeries, local anesthesia, commonly known as Novocain, is always used to render the mouth numb during surgery. Fortunately, these numbing medicines last for many hours after the surgery, as well. Our patients have a great deal of input about which anesthesia technique is used for their surgery, because a smooth anesthetic and surgical experience starts with the patient being comfortable with the planned course.