In general dentistry, there are typically three types of anesthesia offered: Local Anesthetic, Nitrous Oxide, and Intravenous Anesthetic.
Local Anesthetic can be used for almost any type of invasive dental procedure. It is administered by needle to a nerve supply that temporarily causes loss of feeling in the localised area being treated. When given the proper dosage, the patient should not be able to feel any pain, and the numbness usually lasts around two to three hours.
Also known as Laughing Gas, is a mixture of Nitrous Oxide and Oxygen administered through a nasal breathing apparatus. The patient remains calm, relaxed, and completely conscious while the Nitrous Oxide provides a pain controlling and relaxing effect. As soon as the nasal apparatus is taken off, symptoms of Nitrous Oxide diminish.
Medication is administered through an Intravenous (I.V.) line so that the patient is sedated but still somewhat conscious. The patient is unaware of what is happening around them but is still coherent enough to answer question or two if needed. Oxygen is also given to the patient, and their vital signs are monitored. This type of anesthesia is best for patients who are nervous about receiving dental treatment.