You’re having your wisdom teeth removed and, while the thought of having someone cut into your gums to take out the teeth might sound unpleasant, it’s worth it when you think about the possible complications you’re avoiding by having the teeth extracted. Since wisdom-teeth removal is a type of oral surgery, you’ll most likely be under some sort of anesthesia during it. The type of anesthesia that is best-suited for your surgery depends on your dentist’s recommendation and your own preferences. Anesthesia options not only affect how alert you are during the procedure. They also affect your recovery afterwards.
If you don’t mind seeing and hearing the action when a dentist removes your wisdom teeth, you might opt for nothing more than a local anesthetic. Local anesthesia numbs the gums and area around the teeth, so that you don’t feel pain or any discomfort during the procedure. While it can be used when the teeth are impacted or haven’t fully broken through the gum line, local anesthesia is most commonly used when the teeth have completely erupted and are simply being pulled.
There are some things to think about when deciding whether or not local anesthesia, and only local anesthesia, is the right choice for you. While you won’t feel pain, you will be able to feel the oral surgeon working in your mouth, meaning you’ll feel some pressure on your gums. You’ll also be able to see what’s going on, including any blood, and you’ll be able to hear the sounds made by the various tools used.
The plus side of only local anesthesia for many patients is that it doesn’t make them sleepy or drowsy. You won’t have to wait for a sedative to wear off or wait to wake up after your surgery. You’ll be able to walk out of the dentist’s office right away.
Maybe the idea of being aware of what’s going on when a dentist removes your wisdom teeth doesn’t quite appeal to you. In that case, you might decide to add sedation to your anesthesia options. Used along with local anesthesia, sedation makes you sleepy and “out of it” during the wisdom teeth removal, but you aren’t fully unconscious.
You have a few options when it comes to sedation. Your dentist might have you inhale nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, or he or she might give you IV sedation, during which the sedative is administered into your bloodstream. Often, IV sedation is stronger than inhaled sedation, meaning you’re less likely to remember what went on during the procedure. Neither option will put you to sleep completely, but you might doze off during the surgery and will generally not be aware of what’s going on. After the procedure is over, you’ll need to wait a bit for the effects of the sedative to wear off. Usually, it’s a good idea to have a relative or friend who can take you home afterwards and keep an eye on you until the sedative has fully worn off.
General anesthesia is the most complicated and involved option. This type of anesthesia completely knocks you out and requires monitoring of your breathing and heart rate to make sure there are no issues during the surgery.
In many cases, general anesthesia isn’t necessary when the wisdom teeth are taken out. Most patients are fine with either local anesthesia for less involved extractions or with some sedation for more complicated ones. But, if your teeth are severely impacted or if your wisdom teeth have created other problems with your gums or jaws, you might need to be fully under during the procedure.
Typically, receiving general anesthesia means greater advanced preparation for the surgery. Your dentist will most likely recommend avoiding eating and drinking for about 12 hours before the procedure, for example. After the surgery is over, it usually takes longer for general anesthesia to wear off, meaning you may have to spend more time in the surgical center. There is also a slightly greater risk for complications when a patient undergoes general anesthesia, since the entire system is put under and needs to be monitored closely by a medical professional.
Your comfort is important during any type of oral surgery, even if it is just a routine extraction of a wisdom tooth. Since every patient has a different definition of comfort and is able to tolerate pain differently, it’s a good idea to speak with your dentist about your anesthesia options when considering oral surgery.
In Miami, Dr. John Paul Gallardo and Dr. William Lamas have the training needed to administer IV sedation to patients who request it, as well as inhalation sedation and local anesthesia. They are happy to review your options with you and help you choose the method that will make you most comfortable during the surgery. To schedule a consultation with the dentists, call (305) 447-1447 today.