Wisdom tooth extraction is a relatively common dental procedure among adults. Some people opt to remove all four wisdom teeth, especially if they are problematic. Choosing the right anesthesia for the extraction process is essential in promoting relaxation and averting anxiety. There are various options such as local anesthesia, sedation, and general anesthesia.
Local anesthesia involves numbing the area to be treated, and you remain conscious throughout the procedure. Sedation renders you semi-conscious, while general anesthesia makes you entirely unconscious throughout the procedure. How do you choose the best anesthetic for your procedure? Here are a few factors to consider.
Fear and Anxiety Levels
Local anesthesia is the most popular option for dental procedures such as tooth extraction. However, people who suffer dental anxiety and fear may consider other options that promote relaxation throughout the procedure. In this case, sedation would be an excellent anesthesia choice. Your dentist will administer moderate or deep sedation depending on the levels of anxiety and fear.
Sedation medication such as nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, leaves you semi-conscious throughout the procedure. It helps with pain and anxiety without sending you into total unconsciousness, as is the case with general anesthesia. However, the dentist has to monitor your heart rate and blood pressure to avert potential risks.
Length of the Procedure
Wisdom tooth extraction may take anywhere between a few minutes to an hour, depending on the procedure's complexity. If you're removing two or four teeth, the procedure may be uncomfortably long. Also, complications such as impaction, abscesses, cysts, and tooth fracture may further prolong the process.
Therefore, you need to select the most comfortable anesthetic. Choosing local anesthesia doesn't mean the procedure will be painful. Your dentist will re-administer medication throughout the procedure to prevent pain. However, if you don't like this option, consider sedation.
Underlying Health Conditions
Some underlying conditions may determine the best anesthetic for your wisdom teeth removal. For example, some people's bodies don't respond to local anesthesia. If you have abscesses or nerve damage, local anesthesia may fail to work or wear off quickly. In these cases, your dentist may explore other pain management options such as sedation.
Health conditions such as liver, kidney, heart, and lung problems may present challenges during the administration of general anesthesia and sedation. Some neurological conditions also increase the risks associated with general anesthesia. For example, if you suffer high blood pressure, IV sedation and general anesthesia may spike your blood pressure.
Thus, there's a need for careful monitoring throughout the procedure. If you're under medication for chronic conditions, your dentist may need to adjust the anesthetic. Discuss these risks with your dentist to determine the best medication for the procedure.