General Anesthesia dentists are the dentists who offer the services of deep sedation and general anesthesia to their patients. They are either themselves qualified as Dentist Anesthesiologists, or employ another dentist who is trained and certified in general anesthesia to manage the patient while they carry out the dental treatment.
A Dentist Anesthesiologist is a highly trained dentist who is a specialist in practicing deep sedation and general anesthesia to dental patients. Dentist anesthesiologists have the necessary licensing and the extensive training for enabling an anxiety free treatment with the maximum of patient safety.
Dentists Anesthesiologists are the only sedation dentists who can accurately be referred as ‘sleep dentists’. The goal of the dentist anesthesiologist is to provide a safe environment in which the patient is unconscious, unable to move, not feeling any pain or discomfort. During the procedure, his duty is solely to maintain the adequate level of anesthesia and monitor the vital signs of the patient (heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, and blood oxygen level). Another dentist will perform the dental procedure on the patient.
The standard training received in dental school is not enough to make a dentist eligible for providing general anesthesia. Education to become a Dentist Anesthesiologist generally includes a minimum of two-years of specialized advanced training beyond the undergraduate level (usually a residency in a hospital based anesthesia program), as well as continuous education.
Continuous education is necessary for general anesthesia dentists, and some states require several hours of CE for the renewal of general anesthesia permits. The continuous development of new drugs and changes in protocols for drug administration require from the dentist anesthesiologist to be informed of these changes in order to provide the best (and safest) care for the dental patient.
In USA, the educational standards to administer general anesthesia are specified by the American Dental Association and further certification is required by individual state boards. Dental anesthesiology is not yet an official specialty of dentistry.
Most dentist anesthesiologists limit their practice to providing anesthesia services for other dentists who perform the necessary dental care. They either provide care in a hospital or (in countries where it is allowed) in private dental offices of other dentists. If the dentist anesthesiologist is the one who will also perform the oral surgery, a nurse anesthetist must be present to be responsible for continuously monitoring the patient, and providing emergency care if needed. The dentist anesthesiologist who works in one or more dental offices provides all the necessary equipment, medications, and sophisticated monitors required for general anesthesia.