History of Anesthesia

A Little History

Dentists have been seeking methods of pain control associated with dental treatment since the beginning of their profession. It was the work of two dentists who introduced anesthesia to both the medical and dental professions. First, Dr. Horace Wells, considered the discoverer of anesthesia, was the first to use nitrous oxide as an anesthetic agent on humans in 1844. Second, Dr. William T.G. Morton conducted the first public demonstration of general anesthesia utilizing diethyl ether in 1846. In fact, Dentist Anesthesiologists have been instrumental in bringing Office-Based Ambulatory Anesthesia to the fields of Dentistry and Medicine.

In the late 1950s, perhaps due to a shortage of physician anesthesiologists, dentists were recruited and fully trained in the medical specialty of anesthesia. This continual pursuit of pain management by dentists and the recruitment into medical anesthesia residency programs has led us to the field of dental anesthesiology and the “Dentist Anesthesiologist”.

Today, Dentist Anesthesiologists have many modalities available to them for patient management: local anesthesia, oral sedation, nitrous oxide, intravenous conscious sedation, and total intravenous and inhalational general anesthesia. In fact, “In-Office Sedation & Anesthesia” is proven to be a safe, convenient, cost effective and an appropriate means of producing a positive physical and psychological result for dental patients.