Wisdom Teeth Removal: The Operation and Anesthesia

Getting wisdom teeth removed is a very common procedure when it comes to dental care. If the wisdom teeth are not removed they could cause severe discomfort or grow at a different angle that can cause trapped bacteria. In order for the wisdom teeth to be removed and the patient to be comfortable, an anesthetic will be used during the procedure. Before having wisdom teeth removed, a patient may be curious about what will happen during their wisdom teeth operation and what anesthesia is used for wisdom teeth removal operations.

Wisdom Teeth Operation Practices

It might not always be clear when a set of wisdom teeth need to be removed by an oral surgeon. After meeting with an oral surgeon or a dentist, they will be able to let you know whether or not removal is necessary. Wisdom teeth are usually removed when they do not grow properly or are hidden by the gums. Wisdom teeth do not typically need to be removed if they are healthy or are growing in correctly.

After numbing the area with a local anesthetic or having the patient fall asleep with a general anesthetic, an incision is made into the gum line to access the wisdom teeth. In some cases bone may be connected to the tooth and a drill will be used to access the teeth properly. Instruments are used to disconnect the teeth from any connective tissue and it may be necessary to break the tooth into separate parts in order to remove it from the socket.

After removal of the wisdom teeth, stitches will be sewn that will either be dissolved on their own in time or need to be removed by hand after a couple of days. After surgery, caution should be used in eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth. It is best to eat soft foods and not to drink through a straw. Gently swishing a small amount of warm water with salt in your mouth can help ease any pain along with the use of an ice pack from time to time as needed.

There are some slight risks and effects that my take place after an operation such as dry sockets, which is a painful inflammation if the blood clot is removed during the healing process. It is also possible to damage to other teeth especially near the location of the removed wisdom teeth. Bleeding after 24 hours of the surgery is common as well and bruising and any swelling of the skin on the face may occur.

Anesthesia Types

Anesthesia procedures will be used to help the patient fall asleep during this extensive procedure. What anesthesia is used for wisdom teeth depends on the extent on the necessary procedure. A local anesthetic is used as a very strong pain killer to completely numb the area to be operated and in this case the area surrounding the tooth or teeth that are to be removed. Local anesthetics can be applied by a gel, cream, or injection. Some patients deal well with local anesthetics but others may experience slight side effects after their operation including:

A numb tongue
Dizziness
Blurred vision
Twitching muscles
Another type of anesthesia that is commonly used during wisdom teeth removal is a general anesthetic. Rather than effecting just one part, it affects the entire body of the person that is being operated on. General anesthetics are used by either injecting a drug into a vein or gas being inhaled. Side effects of using a general anesthetic include:

Nausea and/or vomiting
A dry or sore mouth and throat
Chills
Feeling sleepy or groggy
Because the general anesthetic procedure is more intense than a local procedure more caution is used as a staff of an anesthesiologist, an assistant and a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) work together to ensure a successful procedure.

Each wisdom teeth removal process will be unique for each patient but if you are preparing for the operation, it is helpful to understand the full process of it so that there are no surprises.