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Oral Surgery Sedatives and Recovery Time


When a patient is undergoing oral surgery, he wants to be as comfortable as possible during the surgery, but he also wants to be able to shake off the effects of the sedative as soon as possible after the surgery is over.  Finding the ideal anesthetic treatment is essential to the success of dental oral surgery procedures.

In the journal, the Anesthesia Progress, a study was published which compared two different drug combinations for use in oral surgery for the extraction of wisdom teeth.  One group of patients received an intravenous infusion of propofol-remifentanil,  while another group of patients in an experimental group received an intravenous infusion of propofol-ketamine.  This study was conducted as a double-blinded study in that neither the surgeons nor the patients were aware of which treatment was given.

Wisdom teeth extraction is a common dental procedure usually performed in a dental office under local anesthesia and moderate or deep sedation.  Because this procedure does not occur in a hospital setting, there are no personnel to assist in the recovery time of the patient.  Thus, a rapid recovery is important for the safe discharge of the dental patient.

In the study, 37 patients were monitored while sedated.  The patient’s respiratory and heart rate, and blood pressure stability were monitored during the procedure.  After the surgery ended, emergence from the effects of the anesthesia and total recovery time were recorded.  Patients and surgeons in both groups rated their satisfaction with the anesthetic treatments received.

The results of the study for the ketamine group were:  Average emergence time – 13.6 minutes;  Average recovery time – 42.9 minutes.

The results of the study for the remifentanil group were:  Average emergence time – 7.1 minutes; Average recovery time – 24.5 minutes.

Patients and surgeons in both study groups were satisfied with the results of both sedatives.

Although both groups showed similar levels of sedation, the ketamine group, as evidenced by the results of the study, took longer to recover from the effects of the anesthesia.

The ketamine treatment is more a more cost-effective alternative for dental sedation and many patients opt for this route while undergoing oral surgery.  However, while remifentanil is more expensive, when used in an oral surgery procedure, the patient will recover approximately twice as fast as if ketamine was used, which makes it, in many cases, a more ideal deep sedative for dental office oral surgery.

Your dentist or oral surgeon can answer any questions or concerns you may have concerning anesthesia and your scheduled oral surgery.

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Dr. Mark Gasbara
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    Mark J. Gasbara D.D.S.

    1215 Annapolis Road, Suite 208, Odenton, MD 21113
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