Anesthesia and Pain Relief
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are uniquely trained and qualified to provide general anesthesia. Following graduation from dental school, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons complete a postdoctoral surgical program spanning a minimum of 4 years. This surgical residency includes intensive training in the administration of anesthesia, under the direction of Anesthesiologists.
Oral Surgeons continue to gain extensive experience providing anesthesia for patients on a daily basis. In fact, physician Anesthesiologists are the only specialists that have more outpatient anesthesia training and experience than Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.
Options for Anesthesia
For your comfort, surgery can be performed under local anesthesia only, with conscious sedation combined with local anesthesia, or under general anesthesia, where you are fully asleep.
Local anesthesia is used most commonly for straightforward surgical procedures, where patients experience little anxiety. An injection of medication numbs the area where surgery will be performed. You will be fully awake during your procedure and you should not feel any pain. Local anesthesia is not usually recommended for patients who experience dental anxiety, or are uncomfortable with popping and grinding noises.
This type of anesthesia is sometimes referred to as “twilight” sleep. Intravenous sedation, or “IV sedation” is designed to enable you to undergo your surgical procedure, in a very relaxed state, which generally alleviates any anxiety.
For patients who want to be fully asleep, we offer general anesthesia. The medications are administered in a manner that allows you to come out of a sedated state quickly following surgery.
Patients referred to our practice also have the option of having their surgery performed in our outpatient surgical center, where our surgeons work with an anesthesiologist to administer anesthesia and monitor the patients throughout their procedures.
For patients who prefer to reduce or eliminate the need for opioids to manage pain, we offer Exparel® one-dose local analgesic that provides long-lasting relief by leaving your surgical site numb for up to 72 hours following surgery. Exparel® has been approved by the FDA for adults, as well as pediatric patients ages 6 years and older for oral surgery.
Exparel® is administered at the end of your surgery, but you won’t experience any pain from the injection, as you will still be numb from the initial injection for your surgery. Your surgeon will discuss whether he feels you would still need a limited quantity of pain medication for increased comfort during your recovery period.