Do You Have to Go Under Anaesthesia for Wisdom Teeth Removal?

BY: Dr. Sandeep Sharma
Do You Have to Go Under Anaesthesia for Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Do You Have to Go Under Anaesthesia for Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Medicine has benefited greatly from the discovery of anesthesia. As a result, we can perform invasive dental procedures without worrying about our patients’ pain or discomfort.

Wisdom teeth removal or extraction is a common procedure involving the surgical removal of teeth that are impacted or partially erupted. Many people wonder if the process is painful and if they need anaesthesia. Depending on the position of your wisdom teeth and how difficult they are to remove, your dentist may recommend either local anaesthesia, sedation or general anaesthesia.

If you’re considering wisdom teeth removal, read on to learn more about the types of anaesthesia available, precautions to take and their risks. Being well-informed will help you decide which anesthesia would suit your needs.

What Is Wisdom Teeth Removal?

What Is Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Wisdom teeth or third molars are the last adult teeth to develop and erupt in the mouth. For most of us, molars come between the ages of 17 and 25 in a set of four. However, some get them later in their lives, during their late 20s to early 30s, and some may not have them at all.

A wisdom tooth extraction is the surgical removal of one or more wisdom teeth. The surgery often takes about 30 to 45 minutes, but it can take longer if you have more than one tooth that needs to be removed or if your teeth are impacted. It is an outpatient procedure and can be done in a dental office, so you won’t have to stay overnight at a hospital. Your dentist will also provide after-care instructions, which you must follow closely to ensure a speedy and uneventful recovery process.

There are various reasons why dentists recommend wisdom teeth extraction, such as:

  • The teeth are impacted or not fully erupted.

  • They crowd or damage the nearby teeth.

  • There is an infection.

  • They’re hard to clean due to their location.

  • They’re causing tooth decay and gum disease.

Do You Have to Go Under Anaesthesia for Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Wisdom teeth extraction is an invasive procedure that involves incising the gums, drilling bone, cutting teeth into pieces and suturing the gums, and they are almost impossible to perform without anesthesia. For this reason, dentists highly recommend, if not require, that anesthesia be used during the procedure. Depending on your case, they may recommend local anesthesia, sedation or general anaesthesia.

If you have all your wisdom teeth or multiple teeth that need to be removed, your dentist will likely recommend either sedation anaesthesia or general anaesthesia. On the other hand, if you only have one impacted tooth and its position is not too complex, you may only need local anaesthesia.

The type of anaesthesia also depends on your age, overall health, and medical history. If you have heart disease or are allergic to certain medications, you may not be able to receive certain types of anaesthesia. Be sure to discuss all your options with your dentist before your dental surgery to ensure that you can maximize your comfort during the procedure.

Different Types of Anaesthesia on a Wisdom Teeth Removal

Like other surgical procedures, different types of anaesthesia are available for wisdom teeth removal. Below is a detailed discussion of the three most common anaesthesia used for wisdom teeth removal.

1. Local Anaesthesia

This is the most common type of anaesthesia used for this surgery. It numbs the tooth and the surrounding area so you won’t feel pain during the surgery. Your dentist will administer the local anaesthesia by injecting it into your gum tissue near or around the tooth. You may feel a little pain when the needle goes in, but it should only last a few seconds.

Depending on the tooth’s location, the numbing effect usually takes about 2-3 minutes to take effect fully. Lower wisdom teeth may take longer to numb since they’re farther away from the gum’s surface.

Once it does, your dentist will start the procedure, and you will be awake but not feel any pain. Local anaesthesia will last about one to two hours, which is usually more than enough time to remove the wisdom tooth. If you’re worried about feeling discomfort or have a low pain threshold, you can ask your dentist to give you another dose of local anaesthesia once you feel pain.

2. Sedation

This type of anaesthesia uses medication to help you relax and feel less anxious during the surgery. You may feel sleepy during the procedure but still conscious. It’s often used for people who fear needles or are highly anxious about dental procedures. There are different types of sedation available, including:

  • Oral sedatives. This medication is given in pill form before the procedure, making you drowsy. You may be given a sedative an hour or so before your surgery to help you relax.

  • Inhaled sedatives. Inhaled sedatives are a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. It’s administered through a small mask you breathe in and out of during the procedure. The inhaled sedative will make you feel lightheaded and relaxed. You may even fall asleep during the surgery, but this is rare. Patients with dental anxiety and fear of injection can receive this kind of sedation anaesthesia, which takes effect within 2 to 3 minutes after inhalation.

  • Intravenous (IV) sedation. This type of sedation is administered through a small needle in your arm. It’s usually used for people who are highly anxious or need a high level of sedation. You may not recall much, if anything, about the surgery after it’s over. The effect can last up to 12 hours, so you’ll need someone to drive you home.
3. General Anaesthesia

This is the strongest type of anaesthesia and puts you to sleep during the surgery without feeling any severe pain. It’s used for patients who need multiple teeth removed or if their wisdom teeth are impacted and require more extensive surgery. Its effect can last up to 24 hours before it wears off.

Before the surgery, your anaesthesiologist will talk to you about the risks and benefits of general anaesthesia. This type of anaesthesia carries more risks than local or sedation anaesthesia, so make sure you understand the potential side effects before making a decision.

Precautions to Consider Before Administration of Anaesthesia During Wisdom Teeth Surgery

Regardless of the type of anaesthesia used during your wisdom tooth extraction, some general precautions must be taken to ensure your safety. You must discuss these with your dentist before the surgery to ensure you understand the risks and benefits. These include:

  • Medications You Are Currently Taking
    Be sure to inform your dentist about any medications you’re currently taking, including over-the-counter medications and vitamins. Some medicines can interact with anaesthesia and cause serious side effects.

  • Your Medical History
    Your medical history is vital for your dentist because it can affect how your body reacts to anaesthesia. Let them know about any medical conditions and allergies you may have. For instance, if you previously had a bad reaction to anaesthesia, your dentist will need to know this in advance.

  • Your Family’s Medical History
    Your dentist should also know your family’s medical history. Certain medical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, can be passed down from generation to generation. If you have concerns about how your family’s medical history may affect the anaesthesia during your surgery, discuss it with your dentist beforehand.

  • Smoking and Alcohol Use
    Smoking and alcohol can affect how your body reacts to anaesthesia. If you smoke or drink, let your dentist know how much of these you consume and how often. You must also abstain from smoking and drinking for at least 24 hours before the surgery.

Are There Risks Associated with Using Anaesthesia for Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Similar to other types of surgeries, there are risks associated with using anaesthesia. These risks will be discussed with you by your dentist before the surgery.

Some of the most common risks include:

  • Allergic Reactions
    Allergic reactions to anaesthesia are rare, but they can occur. If you have had a bad reaction to anaesthesia in the past, be sure to let your dentist know. They will take extra precautions to ensure your safety.

  • Breathing Difficulties
    After administering general anesthesia, the tongue or soft palate muscles can become too relaxed, causing the airway to narrow. Some may also experience shallow breathing. Your dentist will constantly monitor you during and after the surgery to ensure you breathe properly.

  • Nausea and Vomiting
    Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of general anaesthesia. They are usually caused by the anaesthesia itself and not the surgery. For this reason, your dentist will give you medication to help prevent nausea and vomiting. In rare cases, nausea and vomiting signify a more serious problem, such as an allergic reaction.

Can I Drive Home After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Can I Drive Home After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Regardless of the type of anaesthesia you receive, it’s recommended that someone drives you home after your wisdom teeth removal surgery. This is especially true if general anaesthesia is used because it can take up to 24 hours for the effects of general anaesthesia to wear off completely. In this case, your memory and concentration will be impaired, and it would not be safe for you to drive.

Similarly, even if the effect of local anaesthesia wears off completely when it’s time for you to go home, you may still be groggy from the surgery. Plus, the anesthesia may start to wear off at this time, and you may begin to feel the pain from the surgery, making it difficult to concentrate in driving.

Final Thoughts

Wisdom tooth removal procedure is commonly performed by dentists using local anaesthesia. However, some cases may require sedation or general anaesthesia. The type of anaesthesia used during wisdom tooth removal will depend on your individual needs. Your dentist will discuss the risks and side effects of each type of anesthesia and help you decide which one would benefit you more.

If you have concerns about wisdom teeth removal or anaesthesia, contact Clear Choice Dental at (08) 9345 0455 if you’re nearby Yokine or at (08) 9452 8877 if you’re in the Maddington area.

Clear Choice Dental has a team of experienced and passionate dentists and friendly dental staff members to answer any questions you might have. We provide a wide variety of dental care services in a comfortable and relaxed environment. These include general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, teeth whitening, Invisalign, implants, and more.


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