Training and Experience
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are unique among the dental and surgical specialties in regards to anesthesia training. During residency, every oral and maxillofacial surgeon receives formal anesthesia training in a hospital’s anesthesia department. While there, they are taught the necessary skills to safely administer anesthesia, including IV sedation, airway management, general anesthesia, and intubation techniques. Our doctors have performed thousands of anesthetics over their long careers and have the skill and knowledge to manage each individual’s situation.
Types of Anesthesia
Many people can have their procedures completed using a local anesthetic to “numb” the area for comfort. The patient will feel a pressure sensation but no pain. Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” can be used to make a patient feel relaxed and calm. For those who wish to be sedated so that they are unaware of the surgery, we also offer IV sedation and general anesthesia. Ambulatory anesthesia involves administering medications in the office that will either induce general anesthesia (where the individual is totally asleep) or sedation (where the individual is in a state of semi-consciousness). Anesthesia is typically administered by our surgeons. However, in longer or more complex cases we may choose to have a board-certified anesthesiologist come to our office to administer the anesthesia. The benefits of general anesthesia and intravenous (IV) sedation include a decrease in awareness and anxiety during the surgery. This translates into near or total amnesia of the surgery, lack of noise perception, and no pain during the procedure.
During your initial consultation at Loudoun Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, you and one of our surgeons will discuss the type of procedure required, your medical history, and the level of anxiety you feel about the procedure. Some procedures, due to their nature, require the use of IV sedation or general anesthesia, whereas other treatments are best accomplished under local anesthesia. Choosing anesthesia is always a personal decision and should only be made after an informative consultation with one of our doctors. During the initial consultation, you will also be given instructions on how to prepare for surgery. These might include:
- Not eating or drinking for eight hours prior to surgery
- Taking all of your normal medications with just a sip of water
- Wearing warm, loose, comfortable clothing
- Bringing an escort with you
- Making any necessary arrangements for your recovery at home
During Your Procedure
Having your surgery done in our office ambulatory setting is much more comfortable and less intimidating than having it done in a hospital. However, our commitment to your safety is every bit as serious.
When you arrive in our surgical suite, one of our knowledgeable, friendly surgical assistants will record your vital signs and make you comfortable. For your safety, we use several non-invasive monitors that will be attached to you before your treatment. These devices typically include an EKG (electrocardiogram), a blood pressure cuff, a pulse oximeter (which measures the amount of oxygen in your blood), and a capnograph (which measures exhaled carbon dioxide). We suggest that you wear loose clothing so that we can more easily use and attach these important devices. Drugs will be administered through the IV to help you to relax or sleep.
As part of our practice’s safety requirements, all of our doctors maintain certification in advanced cardiac life support, and all staff members are CPR certified. We follow the protocols and guidelines set forth by state medical and dental regulatory boards. By doing so, our Ashburn and Leesburg offices are regularly inspected. We also regularly run emergency drills to be sure we are prepared for any problems that may arise.
After Your Procedure
The medications we use for sedation and general anesthesia will remain in the blood stream for up to 24 hours following the procedure. Therefore, it is understood that you WILL NOT operate machinery or any vehicle for at least 24 hours after receiving ‘general anesthesia’ or being sedated.
Following the surgical procedure, the IV will be removed and you will recover either in the surgical suite or in a separate recovery area. At this time, our recovery room assistant will review all of your post-operative instructions with you and your escort, as well as answer any questions either of you may have. Your doctor is always available and he can also answer any questions you may have about your care following your surgery.