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Dental Anesthesia

Wisdom teeth extraction

03/19/2009

Question:

I`m a young woman, 24 yrs to be exact who has to undergo a small surgery to remove my impacted wisdom teeth. I wish to extract all four in one visit. I have not scheduled an appointment with the oral surgeon as yet because I`m very nervous and scared after being told that i will have to have general anesthesia - I cant seem to wrap my mind around the idea of being "put out". Ive been doing a lot of research online and I learned that the anesthesiologist will need to know my medical history such as allergies and my family`s medical history but i do not have a big family so there`s not much to tell there also Ive been told that I`m a hypochondriac so i don`t even know what my real allergies are. I do know that i sneeze a lot and get stuffy when I`m around dust, dander and when i drink or eat diary products. I also have stomach problems as i get stomach aches easily, that could be due to the fact that i eat a lot of junk food and i have very poor eating habits. About 2 or 3 yrs ago i was told by a GP to do a thyroid test because I felt as though i was in depression after a relative`s death. I still have not done that test however as you can see, overall I`m just really anxious and I`m especially scared of the possibility of not waking up and I`m also scared of stages 2 and 4 - this i found in an article i read on Wikipedia about the stages of anesthesia. Does my eating habits add to the risks of having general anesthesia? Also, should i be worried over anything in particular about having general anesthesia?

Answer:

General anesthesia is not always needed for wisdom tooth extraction, and moderate (what used to be called conscious) sedation may be fine. With your anxiety level, it may be that general anesthesia would be needed or preferable as some people do not like the feeling of moderate sedation but the vast, vast majority do.

If you go to the oral surgeon, you should be aware that the surgeon will be both the anesthetist and the surgeon. This model has been used by oral surgeons for decades with a truly impressive safety record, but it is the only such model of this type of anesthesia currently used. For any other medical procedure, a separate anesthesia provider is used. Additionally, most oral surgeons provide deep sedation and not general anesthesia, so this may make you feel somewhat better about things.

For your particular situation, I would contact an oral surgeon, rather than a general dentist who also does this type of surgery, as oral surgeons have the most experience in this area generally. Once you discuss your options with the surgeon, I think you will be able to make a more informed decision.

None of your issues related here would indicate that you should not have general anesthesia. With your anxiety and strong focus on body issues, you would probably be most comfortable with general anesthesia.

For more information:

Go to the Dental Anesthesia health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Steven I Ganzberg, SB, DMD, MS Steven I Ganzberg, SB, DMD, MS
Formerly, Clinical Professor of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University