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Dental Anesthesiology

Dental Anesthesiology

American Dental Associations Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) voted to accept accreditation standards for dental anesthesiology programs in January of 2007 making dental anesthesiology the newest dental specialty recognized by the ADA. The general dentist provides anesthesia for their patients on a daily basis usually through the injection of lidocaine or another local anesthetic and occasionally use some oral sedation for dental phobic patients. Local anesthesia injections in general dentistry include the inferior alveolar nerve block, the posterior superior alveolar nerve block, the infraorbital nerve block, and numerous local infiltrations among others. Detailed knowledge of the facial anatomy is required as the injections need to be given within a few millimeters of the nerve to be effective.

Dental anesthesiologists additionally administer more advanced anesthesia through the use of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic techniques including IV sedation and general anesthesia. Most dental anesthesiologists work by providing their services for other dentists who require advanced anesthesia and sedation for their patients or medical monitoring for special needs patients. Some may work in a single office where advanced anesthesia is required frequently, like in an oral surgery practice, while others rotate around through multiple area practices to dentists and dental specialists that require the occasional services of an anesthesiologist.

dental syringe

The training for a dental anesthesiologist requires an additional 2 to 3 year residency following completion of dental school. Completion of residency in a CODA certified program in this specialty requires a minimum of 500 deep sedations/general anesthetics and at least 12 months of full-time anesthesia administration in a hospital setting. For more information on dental anesthesiology, visit The American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists and The American Dental Board of Anesthesiology. You can find a list of residency programs with ADA accreditation here.

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