Anesthesia & Dentistry

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Dr. Christine Quinn

Dental Anesthesiologist

Dr. Christine Quinn is a full-time faculty member of the UCLA School of Dentistry and provides in-office anesthesia services as part of her faculty responsibilities. She received her Doctorate of Dental Surgery degree in 1987 from the USC School of Dentistry and obtained her Masters of Science and training in dental anesthesiology in 1989 from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. Dr. Quinn is a clinical professor Dental Anesthesiology, the Coordinator of Anesthesia and Pain Control at the School of Dentistry and the program director of the Dental Anesthesiology Residency. A Diplomate of the American Dental Board of Anesthesiology, Dr. Quinn has been providing hospital-based and office-based anesthesia services for dental patients since 1989.

Anesthesia for dentistry refers to the use of anesthesia during dental treatment. Sedation is most commonly used during extensive procedures, for patients with dental phobia, or for patients who find it difficult to sit still. There are different types of anesthesia, including nitrous oxide ("laughing gas"), IV sedation, oral sedatives, and general anesthesia.

Anesthesia can range from the use of nitrous oxide to calm a patient to general anesthetics used to put patients to sleep. Patients with dental phobia, low pain tolerance, major dental treatment, physical handicaps, or strong gag reflexes may require sedation. Procedures like fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, extractions, cosmetic procedures, and periodontal treatments often require sedation.

Sedation is endorsed by the American Dental Association and is an effective way to make many patients comfortable during their dental visit. Before using a sedative or anesthetic, it is important to tell your dentist about any medications or medical treatments you are receiving. Before administering any sedative or anesthetic, your dentist will talk to you about the process of sedation and pre- and post-sedation instructions.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, more commonly known as “laughing gas”, is often used for conscious sedation during a dental visit. The gas is administered as a mixture with oxygen and has a calming effect that helps phobic or anxious patients relax during their dental treatment. Because it is a mild sedative, patients are still conscious and can talk to their dentist during their visit. After treatment, the nitrous is turned off and oxygen is administered for five to 10 minutes to help flush out any remaining gas. The effects wear off almost immediately. Nitrous oxide rarely has side effects, although some patients may experience minor nausea and constipation. Your doctor will provide you with pre- and post-sedation instructions.