When you require a significant oral surgery or operation, you may need oral sedation to ensure you’re safe and comfortable during the procedure. Your oral surgeon may suggest that you take a sedative or anesthetic if you’re going in for a standard procedure like a root canal or a wisdom tooth removal. Sedative agents are used to ensure the surgery or operation goes smoothly and prevent you from feeling pain or discomfort.

The following article will discuss the differences between sedation and anesthesia, so you better understand their effects before your oral procedure.

Local Anesthetic

Oral surgeons administer local anesthetics for small procedures. A local anesthetic will not put you to sleep; instead, it will numb a certain area of the face and mouth. This agent allows oral surgeons to complete a pain-free dental procedure while you’re still awake and alert. A local anesthetic is typically administered for small procedures like cavity fillings, and it should only take a couple of hours for the effects to wear off. Local anesthesia may make your face feel tingly and will likely numb your tongue, so be careful not to bite it while the agent is still in effect.

General Anesthetic

Your oral surgeon will request general anesthetic for intensive and lengthy surgeries and operations. If your procedure requires general anesthesia, an anesthesiologist will need to administer the agent and ensure your vitals remain stable. Before the procedure begins, your anesthesiologist will administer the anesthetic into your bloodstream; however, they may choose to administer it through a mask if they cannot find a vein. After the agent has entered your system, you will be unconscious until the procedure is complete. Ensure that you have someone to drive you home following the procedure, as you will not be allowed to operate a vehicle for up to 48 hours.


When your oral surgeon needs something a little more substantial than a local anesthetic but not as intense as general anesthesia, they may administer a sedative. This agent will ensure that you are completely relaxed and comfortable throughout the procedure and ensure that you feel no pain or discomfort. There are varying degrees of sedation, and depending on the severity of your oral condition, you may require a medium or deep sedation. Furthermore, if your oral surgeon needs you to be awake during the procedure, you will be administered light sedation.

If you’ve never been administered sedation or anesthesia, you may have a lot of questions or concerns. The team at Tooth Harmony is here to help! Feel free to give us a call to learn more about sedation and anesthesia for oral surgeries.