The illustrations in dental history books are perhaps as accurate as they are baroque. Dental anesthesia is a relatively recent development. Until perhaps the 1960s, most patients had to endure the pain of various dental procedures without any form of anesthetics. Nitrous oxide as a dental anesthesia has been used in Europe as early as 1845, but was normally reserved for the upper classes. It was only in 1863 in New Haven and New York City that nitrous oxide was first administered to the public.

Many people suffer from dental phobia so severe they refuse to visit the dentist for years on end. This keeps them from getting much needed dental care and treatment. Those who suffer from dental phobia or anxiety have a deep-seated belief that dental procedures will be painful. On the contrary, nearly every dental treatment today is done with anesthesia, thanks to the sedation dentistry Scottsdale dentists practice.

The oldest dental anesthesia is perhaps nitrous oxide, colloquially known as laughing gas. The gas comes from ammonium nitrate, which becomes nitrous oxide and water vapor when heated. Nitrous oxide is a non-flammable gas with a slightly sweet taste and smell. It is called laughing gas because nitrous oxide gives the inhaler temporary euphoria, making the person giggle when exposed to high doses. It is only a mild anesthetic and inapplicable for major surgeries; however, nitrous oxide is commonly used as an anesthetic in root canal procedures.

There are other anesthetics used in root canal extractions. Lidocaine is perhaps the most common topical anesthesia. It is either applied as a cream or injected into the inferior alveolar nerve under the gums. Lidocaine is more widely distributed than procaine, which was effective except for its hypoallergenic effects on some patients.

For more complex procedures like dental implants Scottsdale dentists offer, a potent anesthetic called articaine is injected into the inferior alveolar nerve. It is also used for the surgical extraction of impacted wisdom teeth. However, using the anesthetic requires a well-trained dentist, who must only block the said nerve. This numbs a selected area in the mouth, including parts of the tongue.

Dental implants involve drilling through the alveolar bone with a titanium screw, so potent anesthesia is needed. Sedation dentistry may also be given to patients who need dental implants. Patients who have dental phobia or a poor gag reflex control need to be fully sedated for the cosmetic dentistry Scottsdale procedure to be successful. The patient is given either oral sedatives or intravenous sedation.