As you pull into the dentist office for your yearly checkup, you can’t help but realize you’re at
the age where your wisdom teeth may have started to come in. You may have already started
experiencing the slight discomforts associated with these pesky third molars as they grow into
the back of your mouth. If you are not a fan of dentists poking around at your teeth, you may be
nervous to schedule that appointment with the recommended surgeon. Don’t fret, the thought of
oral surgeon may seem daunting however, wisdom teeth extraction has become a simple and
effective process that can be tailored to your preference.
If you are amongst the group of people who are removing wisdom teeth for preventative
measures, you may have an option to which anesthetic you may use. The first option, one that
more oral surgeons are starting to lean towards, is the use of local anesthetics. The use of local
anesthetics is the same process your dentist uses for filling a cavity. After you are set up for the
procedure, the surgeon will numb the extraction sites then administer an injection that will block
the nerves from feeling the pain. The patient stays awake during this procedure and will only
experience the pressure of the removal process. The benefit using local anesthesia is the
mental recovery time, you will not be feeling groggy or foggy after the procedure.
The secondary type of procedure that can be done for your extraction is the use of a sedation
anesthetic combined with the local, numbing anesthetic. Your oral surgeon will administer this
sedative through an intravenus (IV) in your arm. This process subdues conscious thinking
leaving you with the faint memory of having your wisdom teeth extracted and feeling no pain.
Talk to your oral surgeon if you prefer this type of surgery and discuss your options. This
procedure does eliminate the discomfort but will leave you groggy after the process. You will
wake up in the recovery room and will have to have a friend or family member drive you home.
The last type of anesthesia that can be used for wisdom tooth extraction is similar to what a
surgeon would use for any surgery, general anesthesia. This process may be used for extreme
cases of wisdom teeth impaction. General anesthesia can be administered through IV and/or
inhalation. Under this type of anesthesia, you will be completely “knocked out” feeling no pain
and having no recollection of the procedure. This type of procedure will cost you more because
of the medical attention needed to assist you through the process. Drawbacks would be
consistent with all the possible mishaps that can happen during a surgery. Similar to sedation
anesthetics, you will spend time in the recovery room and need to be checked out by friend or
While you are under any of these anesthetics you may be wondering (or dreaming) about what
is going on inside your mouth. After you are numbed and ready to go, your oral surgeon begins
by creating an incision at the extraction site exposing the impacted wisdom tooth. Your surgeon
will remove any bone covering the tooth and the root then proceed to extract the entire tooth.
After cleaning out the extraction sites and sewing up the holes, you’ll be cushioned with gauze
pads and there you have it! Now off to recovery you go with copious amounts of pudding and
ice cream in your near future.
More at wisdomtoothpain.org