Sedated Wisdom Teeth Extraction: FAQs About Anesthesia

Do you need a sedated wisdom teeth extraction procedure? If you're not sure what to expect, which type of sedation is right for you, or whether you really need to sleep through your wisdom teeth removal surgery, take a look at the top questions patients have about this procedure and anesthesia. 

Why Do You Need Sedation?

While sedation isn't a requirement for every tooth extraction procedure, it does have benefits. Unlike other extractions, a wisdom tooth removal procedure may require the dentist or oral surgeon to do more than just pull the tooth out. Impacted wisdom teeth that are crowded and under the gum line are trapped below the surface. The dental professional must make an incision into the gum to reach the tooth. This type of surgical procedure is often complex and may become painful for the patent. 

Anesthesia can reduce or eliminate pain or even minor discomfort during the surgery. Not only can sedation help you to have a pain-free procedure, but it can also decrease anxiety. Dental procedure anxiety is common. According to the Cleveland Clinic, nearly 36 percent of Americans have at least some fear of dental treatments. If you're one of the many people who worry about this type of procedure, sedation can help you to feel more comfortable and relaxed during the extraction.

Will You Need General Anesthesia?

No, the average wisdom tooth extraction will not require the use of general anesthesia. This type of anesthesia is typically reserved for more invasive surgeries that are done in hospitals or similar settings. Instead of general anesthesia, wisdom tooth removal often includes the use of IV sedation. 

IV (or intravenous) sedation is also known by the common names twilight sleep or conscious sedation. Unlike general anesthesia, you won't need a breathing tube and you can wake easily or even answer questions during the procedure. But you will rest comfortably and aren't likely to feel pain or remember anything from the surgery. 

Will You Wake Up Completely After the Procedure?

After the procedure, you will need to stay at the dentist's or oral surgeon's office until you are awake and alert. Even though you will have the ability to stand, walk, and talk, it's likely that you will feel sleepy or foggy. As the sedation gradually wears off, you will begin to feel more awake. But this process takes time.

You can not drive yourself home after a sedated wisdom teeth extraction procedure. The lingering effects of the anesthesia will impair your motor skills and could compromise your ability to make good decisions. Arrange for a family member or friend to come with you to the procedure, drive you home, and stay with you as the sedation wears off.

For more information on sedated wisdom teeth extraction, contact a professional near you.