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Q: Are the sedatives dentists use safe?

Posted February 11, 2015 in Advice Column, Norwalk

A: Your dentist uses no form of anesthesia, something that causes you to lose sensitivity to pain, that is not safe. They use anesthesia on millions of patients every year, following the training they’re received in their formal education and guidelines established by the American Dental Association. Among the options your dentist will talk about with you are the following:

  • Topical anesthesia, which is applies on a small surface of skin with some sort of swab
  • Novocaine, called a local anesthetic since it numbs only that portion of the mouth on which the dentist is going to work. The dentist injects Novocaine with a needle and uses it in procedures like cleaning out and filling a cavity, treating an infected gum area or getting teeth ready for crowns.
  • Nitrous oxide, sometimes called “laughing gas” for the general state of euphoria it creates in a patient who inhales it. Though you will be conscious for the dental procedure, you’ll be totally relaxed.
  • General anesthesia, which may be required for more complicated procedures, can be used to make you temporarily unconscious. There are also types of general anesthesia that leave you conscious but with no memory of the procedure.

Talk with your dentist about sedation options.

Information provided by Norwalk Family Dentistry, 1101 Chatham Ave., 256-9000.

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