There are several types of anesthesia methods available in an accredited Surgical Facility. The type of anesthesia that will be chosen for your surgery is influenced by many factors including the type of procedure, your level of anxiety and your medical health. During your pre-surgical consult, we will discuss the different options and help you decide the best type of anesthesia for you.

Types of anesthesia options available:

  1. Local Anesthesia – with or without Nitrous Oxide (“Laughing Gas”)
  2. Oral Sedation
  3. Intravenous (IV) Sedation
  4. General Anesthesia (GA)

Local Anesthetic

The patient remains completely conscious throughout the procedure. Local anesthesia (“freezing”) does not diminish an individual’s awareness of pressure, vibration or noise associated with tooth removal or surgery.  The local anesthetic (“Lidocaine”) is administered to “numb” the area and eliminate pain. Local Anesthesia is typically utilized for simple soft tissue procedures or uncomplicated tooth extractions. It may not be effective in certain situations such as a badly infected tooth, a severe gag reflex or severe anxiety. 

Oral Sedation

Occasionally, pills or dissolving tablets can be administered to alleviate mild anxiety. This form of sedation can be unpredictable and still requires pre-operative fasting and an escort home.

Intravenous (IV) Sedation

Medications for relaxation and pain control are administered through an intravenous (IV) line or “drip”. Supplemental oxygen is delivered through a nasal breathing apparatus and the patient’s vital signs are constantly monitored. Local anesthetic is also used to numb the area. Although the patient may “fall asleep”, it is important to understand that this technique does not fully diminish one’s awareness of the procedure. As with all types of sedation & anesthesia, pre-procedure fasting and and a ride home are mandatory.

General Anesthesia (GA)

During a General Anesthetic, a medical anesthesiologist administers inhalation (“gas”) through a mask and medications through an intravenous (IV) line.  The patient is in a state of controlled unconsciousness and not aware of any pain or the procedure. This type of anesthesia requires the placement of a breathing tube that is placed while the patient is sleeping and is removed before the patient is awake. Fasting and an escort are required.

How will I be monitored during the surgery?

Your anesthesia team is responsible for your comfort and well being. Blood pressure, pulse rate, ECG and oxygen levels are some of the important vital signs that are monitored during your surgery.

Who will monitor my recovery after surgery?

According to the guidelines established by the College of Physicians and Surgeons, all phases of anesthesia, including the recovery period are supervised. Our Registered Nurses, anesthesiologists and surgeon will monitor your safe recovery. Your vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen level, respiration) will be CONSTANTLY observed & documented. You will not be discharged home until you meet acceptable criteria, usually within 30 minutes to an hour after surgery.

What emergency protocols are in place IF there is a serious complication?

Our office has the necessary emergency drugs, equipment and protocols in place to care for you in the rare event of a serious complication. Medical anesthesiologists are present to manage any anesthetic issues and your surgeon will treat any other concerns. All of our regisered nurses and doctors have current CPR and ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) training. As per provincial guidelines, we rehearse emergency drills and scenarios. Although rarely required, if hospital transfer is necessary, Dr. Higashi has admitting and surgical privileges at all of the Calgary Zone Hospitals.

Will I have any side effects?

The amount of post-operative discomfort is variable but your doctors and nurses can relieve any pain after your surgery with medication given by mouth, IV or by adding additional local anesthesia.  Nausea or vomiting may occur after anesthesia or with post-operative pain medications. Medications to minimize postoperative nausea & vomiting will be discussed in the pre-surgical consultation. You may experience a sore throat and/or minor nosebleed related to the breathing tube placed under a general anesthetic. 

What can I expect in terms of recovery?

Prior to discharge, the nurses will review post-operative instructions and provide you with gauze and medications. Patients often experience drowsiness and minor after-effects following ambulatory anesthesia, including body / muscle aches, sore throat and occasional dizziness or headaches. Nausea also may be present, but vomiting is less common.   Plan to take it easy for a few days until you feel back to normal. Please remember not to drive or operate machinery for 24 hours following anesthesia.

A nurse will call to follow up with you in a few days after your procedure. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the office at any time @ 403 286 5000.