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A General Anesthesia Or Sedation - Which Would You Go For?

Alex Hales Apr 4, 2019
Medically, anesthesia is a form of controlled loss of consciousness which is indeed induced and reversible. A general anesthesia is, sedation, coupled with amnesia, analgesia and muscle paralysis which altogether puts the patient in a state of total unconsciousness for a while.
Sedation on the other hand is - a certain degree of suppression of awareness where the patient’s ability to respond to stimuli becomes limited.

Sedation comes in 3 forms - minimal, moderate or deep. The minimal form is used by dentists on patients only to relieve them of their anxiety and dental fear.
The moderate amount is administered when the consciousness needs to be depressed but the patient remains capable of responding to any external stimuli.

In the deepest form of stimuli, the patient is only capable of responding to painful and acute stimuli. So, what are the basic differences between the two?

Loss of Consciousness

General anesthesia means complete loss of senses where the patient is totally unable to feel, hear or respond to any kind of stimuli.

Sedation on the other hand is partial loss of consciousness where the patient can at least respond painful stimuli or even any degree of stimuli (depending on the level of stimuli).

Recovery Period

The recovery period from sedation is typically much less than that from a general anesthesia. Often sedated patients can walk back home easily from their dentists office after a procedure is over.

This is because regaining full consciousness after the sedation period is over, is much easier than coming back to your full senses after a complete anesthesia.

Working of Your Respiratory System

The cardiovascular functioning is fully impaired in a general anesthesia. Therefore, a continuous and careful monitoring is required by the medical expert to maintain proper oxygenation of the patient.

Sedation on the either hand neither robs the patient of his full consciousness nor does he lose the normal functioning of his lungs and heart.

Control of the Dentist Over His Patient

General anesthesia gives the dentist greater control over his patients, both in respect to the treatment that he is performing and the patient’s airways.

But, in case of a sedation, since the patient does not lose his own physiological reflexes, and is capable of breathing on his own, the anesthetist does not have complete control over the patients.
It therefore, all depends upon the type of treatment your dentist is required to perform upon you. Usually, painless but time-consuming procedures utilize the technique of sedation.

For instance, when a child needs to undergo an MRI, or your dentist requires you to keep your mouth open for a longer period and you can’t control your gag reflex.
Sedation dentistry comes to the rescue. A general anesthesia works when painful dental surgeries need to be undergone.

Therefore, in the latter case, one needs to be extra careful in choosing his or her preferred dental office. An expert anesthetist is required to administer correct dosages of anesthesia to the patient for a quick and safe recovery.