Difference between sedation and anesthesia

Difference between sedation and anesthesia

Medically, there two main methods used to kill pain during minor and major surgeries. In the dental field specifically, dentists can either opt to put a patient under anesthesia or to sedate them depending on the dental procedure at hand. Many people find it hard to tell the difference between sedation and anesthesia. Below is a detailed explanation of each from drhornsbydental.com.au.

Difference between sedation and anesthesia

Dental sedation

Dental sedation involves a variety of techniques used to kill pain and keep a patient calm during a long dental procedure. Dental sedation helps keep the patient relaxed in a long dental procedure in the sense that the operation is carried out without the patient flinching or behaving in any way that could affect the dentist’s concentration. Sedation is commonly applied in procedures such as fixing crowns and root canal procedures.

Dental sedation techniques include;

Local anesthesia

In dentistry, a local anesthesia is induced to kill pain in one part of the body which is obviously your mouth. This is can be administered topically as an injection. Primarily, anesthesia focuses on numbing one particular place for the purposes of a dental procedure.

Dental anesthetics are divided into two groups that include;

  • Esters ( Benzocaine and procaine)
  • Amides ( lidocaine, articaine, mepivacaine and prilocaine)

The distinction

Basically, sedation and anesthesia are meant to kill pain for the purpose of a dental procedure. However, the main difference between these two procedures is their purpose and suitability. Sedation, for example, is meant to calm a patient or put them to sleep during a dental procedure. This procedure makes the patient relax completely which gives the dentist room for maximum concentration during a long dental procedure

Local anesthesia, on the other hand, involves killing pain or numbing one specific place for a medical procedure. The patient remains awake with only the numbed part free of pain. Local anesthesia is normally administered for short and less complex dental procedures.


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