Wisdom Teeth Anesthesia and Sedation Options
It feels unsettling and scary when you hear your dentist recommend that you get your wisdom teeth extracted. If you’re like most people, it causes you to feel some anxiety at the very least.
However, as daunting as it sounds to have your wisdom teeth removed, you may not even remember it, thanks to sedation dentistry, which is one of the wisdom teeth anesthesia options you have.
What is sedation dentistry?
The fear of dental procedures is not uncommon. Many people get really anxious when they have to visit the dentist.
Sedation dentistry is the use of medication to help people relax during a dental procedure. It is a great way for people to receive dental care despite their anxiety over dental treatment.
Usually, sedation keeps you somewhat conscious. But because you feel so relaxed and comfortable, you end up falling asleep on your own.
And if you opt for the deeper level of anesthesia, you may not even remember what happened during the procedure at all.
Wisdom Teeth Removal
Because wisdom teeth are located in the back of your mouth, there’s usually no room for them to come in properly. Most of the time, they don’t come in at all and stay stuck in the gum. This is called impacted wisdom teeth. In fact, nine out of ten people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth.
Extracting impacted teeth is a more involved procedure, compared to extracting a fully visible well-positioned teeth.
Most of the time, all four wisdom teeth are removed at once. Because of this, some form of sedation during the procedure is highly recommended. And this is especially true for patients with anxiety over dental treatment.
Types of Sedation and Anesthetics
During the initial evaluation, your oral surgeon will be able to assess your anxiety level. They will present to you the best anesthetic option for you during the procedure.
The three ways you can be anesthetized during wisdom teeth removal are the following:
Fully awake and fully aware of surroundings – Only the area of the mouth being treated is anesthetized using a local anesthetic.
Twilight / semi-conscious sedation – You’re a bit sleepy and lethargic and unaware of your surroundings, but not fully asleep. Usually, an intravenous (IV) line in the arm is established where medication is dripped through.
General anesthesia or fully asleep – This is when you are fully asleep and fully unaware of what’s happening in your surroundings.
Listed below are the most common types of sedation and anesthetic used in dental procedures.
Local anesthesia – Medication injected into the area of the mouth to be treated. It causes the area to be numb so you don’t feel pain. In other words, it blocks the sensation of pain during the procedure.You will be fully awake and aware of your surroundings.
Oral medications – You will be given an oral medication and an anti-anxiety pill that you will be taking shortly before the procedure. The medication will take you to ‘twilight’ or semi-conscious sedation. If given in large doses, it may cause you to fall asleep during the procedure.Please note that you will need to have somebody take you home when you take this medication.
Nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” – A controlled mix of nitrous oxide and oxygen that you will be breathing through a mask placed over your now. This will make you feel relaxed and less nervous about the procedure. This also takes you to semi-conscious sedation.This gas is frequently paired with an oral medication. And because of the oral medication, you will need to have someone take you home after the procedure.
Intravenous (IV) sedation – This medication is dripped directly into your system through your veins via an IV needle. Because it goes into your system right away, it works quickly. You won’t remember much about the procedure.Local anesthesia is still given at the site of the treatment for pain relief. You will be dazed and unsteady and feel weak after the procedure. You will also need somebody to take you home after an IV sedation treatment.
General anesthesia – General anesthesia is a combination of oral and IV medication. This will heavily sedate you to a level of complete unconsciousness. You will not have any memory at all of the procedure.
Is Wisdom Teeth Anesthesia Safe?
Oral surgeons are highly trained in all aspects of administering anesthesia. They are well skilled in airway management, establishing IV lines and managing complications that may arise.
Your dentist will typically recommend the best oral surgeon in your area. You could also ask your dentist the following questions about the surgeon they are recommending:
Why do you recommend this surgeon?
What are his specialties?
What’s the surgeon’s background?
Would you go to this surgeon? Have your other patients gone to this surgeon?
Your dentist’s answers to these questions should give you an idea about the surgeon. And if you want more information, you can hit the internet for testimonials from the surgeon’s patients.
Wisdom teeth removal is a standard procedure that is performed many times every day. Anesthetics and sedatives used during the procedure is generally safe when administered correctly and properly.
Call our office about wisdom teeth anesthesia. We will answer all your questions and make sure you understand everything. We want to make you feel comfortable and at ease.
About Dr. Steven Paul, MD, DDS
Dr. Paul is a member of the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons.
He has devoted his profession to all aspects of Oral Surgery with special interests in the treatment and restoration of missing teeth through dental implant procedures including advanced techniques in full mouth rehabilitation (All on 4), bone and soft tissue grafting, restoring both function and aesthetics, as well as extraction of wisdom teeth and associated cysts and tumors of the oral cavity. All this done through anesthetic techniques specific for each individual patient.
NOTE: This article is intended to promote understanding of, and general knowledge about wisdom teeth removal anesthesia. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dental care specialist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.