Dental anaesthesia is a surprisingly wide and complex field. It includes local anaesthesia, general anaesthesia and conscious sedation. Most people who have had a dental filling will have come across local anaesthesia as a form of dental anaesthesia. There are numerous drugs used for local dental anaesthesia. These drugs include lidocaine which has largely replaced procaine in modern dental practice. Other drugs used for local dental anesthesia include, articane, Marcaine and mepivicaine. Most dental local anesthetics also have a drug like adrenaline (also called epinephrine) to con strict the blood vessels around the injection site. This keeps the local anesthetic in the area in which it is needed for as long a possible. For certain applications and patients the blood vessel constricting drug is omitted. General dental anesthesia is used for more complex dental procedures such as the removal of badly impacted teeth, misplaced teeth or fractured jaw repairs. Another use for general dental anesthesia is for patients who cannot cooperate; either small children or mentally deficient individuals, who require dental treatment. General dental anaesthesia includes an area, like local dental anesthesia, where the patient is actually not anesthetised. Here, drugs such as midazolam, diazepam, propofol or nitrous oxide/oxygen are used to take away the anxiety of the dental procedure, while the patient remains fully or semi-conscious. Since the patient is conscious or semi-conscious this form of dental anesthesia is known as conscious sedation. With drugs such as midazolam, diazepam, propofol it is safer if the conscious sedation is administered by another qualified practitioner such as an anesthetist, for the patients safety. These drugs are much more potent than nitrous oxide and can fairly easily cause general anaesthesia. These kinds of drugs also require fairly complex electronic monitoring devices to be used during the conscious sedation. Such devices are also used during general dental anesthesia but not when nitrous oxide/oxygen is sued for conscious sedation.
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