Sedation Services


Our anesthesia practice provides the full range of sedation services including general anesthesia. We have capabilities to perform the full range of anesthesia services listed below. The level of sedation chosen for a particular procedure is based on the procedure, the patient, his/her medical history and the surgeon/dentist preference. Our anesthesiologist, Dr. Thomas E. Lenhart, is a Board-Certified Dentist Anesthesiologist who has completed his undergraduate degree in Microbiology from the University of California San Diego, a Doctorate in Dental Medicine from Boston University School of Dental Medicine, and gone beyond that training to receive significant, additional training and experience in a postdoctoral medical/dental anesthesia residency program at Loma Linda University School of Dentistry, Medical Center and Affiliate Hospitals.

Minimal Sedation (Anxiolysis):

Minimal sedation is a drug-induced state during which patients respond normally to verbal commands and are relatively awake, but relaxed.

Moderate Sedation/Analgesia (Conscious Sedation):

Moderate Sedation is a drug-induced depression of consciousness during which patients respond purposefully to verbal commands, either alone or accompanied by light tactile stimulation. Patients will feel drowsy and may sleep through the procedure, and may or may not remember being in the procedure room. Our anesthesiologist will continually monitor vital signs, including heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels, which will be watched closely in order to avoid sudden changes or complications.

Deep Sedation:

Deep sedation is a drug-induced depression of consciousness during which patients cannot be easily aroused but respond purposefully following repeated or painful stimulation. Patients will have little or no memory of the procedure. During the procedure, breathing can slow down and patients may sleep until the medication wears off. Supplemental oxygen is also given.

General Endotracheal/LMA Anesthesia:

General Anesthesia is a drug-induced loss of consciousness during which patients are unconscious and unresponsive, and not arousable, even by painful stimulation. There are a number of general anesthetic drugs, some are gases or vapors inhaled through a breathing mask or tube and others are medications introduced through a vein. The patient is carefully monitored, controlled and treated by our anesthesiologist, who will use sophisticated equipment to track all major bodily functions. A breathing tube may be inserted through the mouth and frequently into the windpipe to maintain proper breathing during this period. The length and level of anesthesia is calculated and constantly adjusted with great precision. At the conclusion of surgery, the anesthesiologist will reverse the process and the patient regains consciousness.

Total Intravenous General Anesthesia:

When called upon by your treating dentist, our anesthesiologist, Dr. Thomas E. Lenhart, has many anesthetic agents and adjuncts available to him in order to safely provide total intravenous anesthesia in the dental office. The evolution and clinical utilization of intravenous agents of short and predictable duration of action has facilitated the everyday use of anesthesia in the office setting. The pharmacologic properties of the newer intravenous anesthetics allow for a rapid onset and elimination of the drug effects (sedation, amnesia, analgesia, and general anesthesia). These unique pharmacologic properties permit the use of non-inhalation agents to induce, maintain, alter the depth to surgical stimulation, and to allow a rapid emergence from sedation and/or general anesthesia. Total intravenous anesthesia has several advantages and benefits. The intravenous route eliminates the need for an anesthesia machine and volatile anesthetics thereby keeping the cost down for patients. Also, it enables the dentist anesthesiologist to independently control the specific aspects of sedation/general anesthesia: Hypnosis, Amnesia, Analgesia, Muscle Relaxation, etc. For these reasons, intravenous anesthesia techniques are ideal for situations outside of the operating room.