FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. IS ANESTHESIA SAFE?
Many precautions are taken to provide patient safety. Modern day anesthetic medications, monitoring equipment and techniques make an anesthetic given by a properly trained anesthesia provider extremely safe. Your anesthesiologist will be beside you the entire time-from the time you fall asleep until you are ready to go home. You will be thoroughly monitored during the procedure, and we carry all the emergency medications and equipment you would find in a hospital operating room.
2. HOW WILL I BE MONITORED DURING MY SURGERY?
During your procedure, your vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, heart rhythm, amount of oxygen in your blood and breathing patterns and rates) will be continuously monitored and recorded. Equipment includes a blood pressure cuff, a pulse oximeter, an electrocardiogram, end-tidal CO2 gas analysis and a wireless pre-cordial stethoscope. We will be right beside you throughout the procedure to ensure your safety and comfort.
3. WILL ANESTHESIA BE COVERED BY MY INSURANCE?
In-office sedation or general anesthesia for dentistry is rarely a covered benefit on most dental and/or medical insurance plans. Be sure to check with your specific insurance provider for policy details, including yearly maximums. When you contact them, they will ask for a procedure code. For dental insurance, the procedure code is D9223. Please remember that your dental insurance will have a maximum for the year, so if your procedure hits that maximum, there will be no remaining benefits for the anesthesia fee. The medical insurance procedure code is 00170. Insurance will very rarely cover anesthesia fees at 100%.
We will be happy to supply you with a detailed receipt so that you can be reimbursed directly from your insurance company if anesthesia is a covered benefit on your policy.
Washington state medicaid (DSHS or Washington Apple Health) will pay for some children to have in-office general anesthesia. We do accept this form of insurance for pediatric patients when it is a covered benefit on their policy.
4. WHEN WILL I FEEL “NORMAL” AGAIN?
The effects of sedation and/or general anesthesia will usually wear off within a few hours of your procedure, but you should not drive, operate heavy machinery or make any life changing decisions for 24 hours. When you feel completely back to normal will depend on the dental procedure and whether you are taking any other pain medications. We will review your individual instructions with you and your ride before you are discharged.
5. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SIDE EFFECTS OF THE DRUGS USED?
Anesthetic drugs have occasional after effects including nausea, dizziness, and sleepiness. Some patients may experience a sore throat and minor aches. Usually these effects will have dissipated within twenty four hours after discharge. It is important to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and take pain medication as directed by your surgeon.
6. WHAT IF I HAVE AN ALLERGY TO ONE OF THE DRUGS USED?
The anesthetic agents used by Dr. Fonner and Dr. Prior in the dental office are highly unlikely to generate any type of allergic response. In the rare event of an allergic reaction, we have all the same medications, equipment and expertise required to treat the reaction as is available in any hospital.
7. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEDATION AND GENERAL ANESTHESIA?
Sedation and general anesthesia are a continuum.
Minimal (light) sedation: Relief from anxiety
Moderate sedation: Relief from anxiety, some memory loss
Deep sedation: Complete relief from anxiety, no memory of procedure
General anesthesia: Completely asleep and unaware of the surgical procedure, no memory of procedure
Children most often require general anesthesia.
8. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SEDATION MY DENTIST CAN PROVIDE AND USING A DENTIST ANESTHESIOLOGIST FOR MY TREATMENT?
Many dentists and specialists are trained to provide minimal or moderate sedation in their dental office. This usually involves taking a pill (or receiving an IV) to help you relax. They can provide a level of moderate sedation for you, which is highly effective in most instances. Training for this type of sedation varies.
Dr. Fonner and Dr. Prior have completed a residency program in anesthesiology so they are trained to safely provide any level of sedation and general anesthesia. The monitors, equipment and medications they bring are more advanced than what you typically see in a dental office.
9. I KNOW SOMEONE WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ASLEEP FOR THEIR DENTAL SURGERY AND THEY WOKE UP IN THE MIDDLE. WILL THIS HAPPEN TO ME?
The most common cause of “waking up” during dental surgery is because the patient is receiving a minimal or moderate sedation rather than a general anesthetic. (See #7 for more details about varying levels of sedation)
The depth of anesthetic needed for a procedure will be determined by considering the needs of the patient, the requirements of the dentist, and the effect on the quality of the dental treatment. Children will most often require general anesthesia so “waking up” or having memory of the procedure is highly unlikely.