The key to sedation in dentistry is matching the right sedation to the right patient and procedure. At Woodland Hills Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we do this by considering the entire picture as a whole; we evaluate the patient, their level of anxiety, their medical history, and the amount of work that we hope to accomplish during their time in the chair or hospital stay. Before surgical treatment, we will review all of these factors with the patient and determine the right anesthetic for all of their needs.


Local anesthesia, also known as novocaine, is applied through injection to numb a specific area. It works by blocking the nerves from sensing the pain. Lidocaine is the most common local anesthetic used by dentist and oral surgery offices, though there are other options available. One of our surgeons, Dr. Robert G. Hale or Dr. James P. Jensvold, may use a local anesthetic in combination with a conscious sedation anesthetic to relieve pain while also reducing anxiety.


Conscious sedation is used to reduce anxiety and provide relief during an oral surgical procedure. This form of anesthesia is termed conscious because the patient is not put to sleep by the medication, but it placed into a relaxed state, which can sometimes result in the patient falling asleep. Some of the most common conscious sedation that we use include:

  • Nitrous Oxide: Known more by its nickname of laughing gas, nitrous oxide is an easy and safe form of sedation when administered by a medical professional such as an oral surgeon. One of our surgeons, Dr. Robert G. Hale or Dr. James P. Jensvold, simply place a mask over the patient’s nose. They will then breathe in the nitrous oxide, combined with added oxygen, which helps them feel relaxed, not necessarily giggly. Once the mask is removed, and the patient breathes regular air again, the effects dissipate rapidly, making this a simple, and easy conscious sedation option.
  • Oral Sedation: Depending on the patient’s needs, we can prescribe an oral conscious sedation pill to be taken before the appointment. The most commonly prescribed medications are Valium, Halcion or Ativan. We can vary this based on your medical history. Patient’s who have taken one of these pills are advised to have a driver accompany them to and from the office, they will not be able to drive.
  • Intravenous Conscious Sedation: Sometimes referred to as twilight sedation, we can provide a safe form of sedation that will leave you conscious, but completely relaxed and comfortable. The patient feels a strong sense of euphoria, allowing us to get significant work done at one time.


General anesthesia is administered under the guidance of an anesthesiologist. This level of sedation places the patient in an unconscious state. We perform surgery under general anesthesia when we deem it to be best for the patient due to the length of time needed for the procedure, the level of invasiveness, and in consideration of the patient’s comfort.


It is common to have questions about anesthesia, what is being given, and if it will interact negatively with other medications or conditions. Our surgeons, Dr. Robert G. Hale and Dr. James P. Jensvold, are happy to review this information with you. To schedule an appointment, contact Woodland Hills Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at our Woodland Hills office by calling: (818) 999-0900