MacDonald Ranch Dentist

Understanding Dental Anesthesia and Sedation

During Babylonian times, where tooth decay led to the necessity of something to help eliminate the pain from ancient dental procedures, clay was created from henbane seed and gum mastic. Pain relieving methods continued to evolve, from the use of wine to ether to nitrous oxide, the invention of the needle, and then general anesthesia and sedation. All of these methods were solely created to address the uncomfortableness associated with procedures performed in areas where sensitive nerves exist. In other words, all of these inventions greatly enhanced the dental experience by providing comfort to the patient. This is our focus as well. Currently, at the offices of Dr. Ignatowicz, we have different types of anesthesia available to address all kinds of procedures, from general to regional to local.

General anesthesia (GA) is typically used to put a patient “to sleep” while deeper, more complicated procedures are being performed. GA is administered through an I.V. or inhaled.

Sedation offers a “lighter sleep” and is used during less invasive procedures that require a shorter amount of time. Sedation is also administered orally or through an I.V. Light sedation is also used to relieve anxiety, allowing a patient to be relaxed but aware.

While both fall under the category of general anesthesia, and while both have a lot in common, each has marked differences as well.



  • Both help relieve pain
  • Both help relieve anxiety
  • Both can be performed in a dental office
  • Both require an exam by a dental professional to determine the health and wellness of the patient and the appropriateness of the procedure




Anesthesia – provides complete loss of consciousness, meaning the patient will not feel, hear or remember anything. This procedure is necessary for deep procedures that would not be able to be performed without it.

Sedation – while the patient is in a state of sleepiness and relaxation, the patient also conscious, meaning a patient will not feel pain but will be aware of their environment. Sedation is used for less invasive procedures.

Anesthesia – blood pressure, heart function and oxygen levels are closely monitored.

Sedation – heart function is typically unaffected and monitoring of vital signs is not as intensive.

Anesthesia – longer recovery

Sedation – quicker recovery

Anesthesia – because of the deeper sleep, the risk is higher than sedation, although, because of modern-day monitoring and more extensive education, anesthesia has become less risky.

Sedation – because of the lighter sleep, the risk is lower as the response and demands on the body are not as intensive.


We are fortunate to live at a time where new, safer procedures always remain the main focus and methods prevail to make sure a procedure is performed in a safe, clean environment while providing the maximum amount of comfort for a patient.

For more information on the comfort measures available for your specific procedure, contact Dr. Joshua M. Ignatowicz today and let us help you resolve your dental issues immediately.

© Joshua M. Ignatowicz, DMD. All rights reserved.
1070 W Horizon Ridge Parkway #121 Henderson, NV 89012

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