Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are common questions regarding anesthetic services.

They should not be considered medical or dental advice, or as a substitute for a thorough office visit with a history and clinical examination performed by a qualified healthcare provider. Patients and families are encouraged to schedule a visit and seek opinions from a licensed practitioner for advice on specific problems.


Who will provide my anesthetic?
What is the role of my anesthesiologist during surgery?
What type of anesthetic services are offered at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine?
What types of payment are accepted for treatment?
Are there any age limits?
Where can I get more information?


Who will provide my anesthetic?
All states now require dentists who provide anesthetic services to obtain a special license from the state based upon advanced training in this area of expertise. Your anesthesia will be provided under the supervision of a Board Certified Anesthesiologist in a precise, safe manner. The University of Pittsburgh is an institution of higher learning that trains dentists to administer anesthetic services. Our anesthetic team is comprised of Anesthesiologists, Anesthesia Residents, Dental students and Student Registered Nurse Anesthetists. This means that your safety is monitored by a team and not simply an individual. Everyone involved, including you, benefits from this situation.


What is the role of my anesthesiologist during surgery?
Your anesthesiologist works as part of the surgical team to ensure your safety and comfort throughout the procedure. We monitor your blood pressure, your heart activity, your oxygenation, your temperature, your breathing, your comfort and your well being while you are asleep. Our job is to help you experience surgical procedures with as little pain and anxiety as possible. Your input and questions help us do this better.


What type of anesthetic services are offered at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine?
Our faculty is trained to provide the entire spectrum of anesthetic services ranging from local aesthesia (Novacaine) through general anesthesia for a wide range of dental and surgical procedures.

Local anesthesia numbs the teeth and gums to prevent you from feeling discomfort during dental treatment. Local anesthetics are used for procedures such as restoring teeth, treating root canal problems, gum disease, preparing teeth for crowns and extracting teeth.

Conscious-sedation is administered to augment the effects of local anesthetics. Anti-anxiety agents or sedatives can help you relax during dental procedures. They may be given before or during the dental visit and can be administered as pills, liquids, injections or inhaled as a gas.

Nitrous oxide, commonly called "laughing gas", is used on patients of all ages. Few side effects are associated with its use. Nitrous oxide is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over your nose. Its effects wear off soon after the mask is removed and you may return to the activities of your daily life.

Intravenous sedation involves the introduction of medication through an IV placed, usually, in your arm to achieve a relaxed, sedated state in which you are less aware of what is taking place. You breathe normally and swallow normally. Time passes quickly as you experience "twilight sleep".

General anesthesia, unlike conscious-sedation, causes a loss of consciousness and produces a deep sleep. General anesthesia may be used for patients with increased anxiety, patients that are unable to control their movements (some disability conditions) or for children who are too young to cooperate with the dentist for extended periods of time. It is often used for long or complicated surgical procedures to ensure your safety and comfort.



What types of payment are accepted for treatment?
The doctors in our practice accept most major medical and dental insurances. Please consult with your insurance plan regarding the need for a referral for specialty care and the details for covered services. We also accept most major credit cards, checks, and cash payments. You may contact our office for more information.


Are there any age limits?
There are no age limits. In fact, our faculty evaluates patients of all ages: infancy, adolescence, adulthood, and geriatric. We will develop an anesthetic plan that is appropriate for any age with your help.


Where can I get more information?
Please call our office at 412-648-8606 or 412-648-8609 for more information about how to set up a consultation with one of our doctors. You can also talk to your dentist about scheduling a consultation at any of your regular visits.

Information for Department of Anesthesiology Patients