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OT- Wisdom Teeth Removal

I am going to have my wisdom teeth removed in a few weeks. My options are to have it done under a local anesthesia or an IV sedative.

It seems that most patients have it done under the sedative, and that is what my surgeon reccomends. I am, however, very reluctant to be sedated. I'm not worried about complications, I just do not want to be unconscious and not remember any of the procedure.


Has anyone had their wisdom teeh removed under local or IV sedation? Please share your experience.

Wed. Oct 3, 1:12pm

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Mine was performed under IV sedation and I was also reluctant. I don't react well to most medicines, have veins that are difficult to find (and poke a needle into) and I was just a bit uneasy at being unaware.

My surgeon is a plastic surgeon as well as a dentist (and still found time for a family after all that school ;-)) and he recommended sedation because it is less traumatic (ie: the patient isn't exerting opposing forces to his actions) and downtime was a major consideration for me. So I went with it.

The sedation itself was a piece of cake. He had a very knowledgable nurse who took my small veins in stride and I was out before you could count to 10. It felt like drifting off to sleep. I woke up feeling pleasantly rested, but was a little uncoordinated for ~20 minutes or so. My husband drove me home and I napped like a baby the rest of the afternoon and woke up a couple times to change gauze. That turned out to be a formality - I had very little bleeding, ZERO swelling and I felt like I could eat anything I wanted after I woke up. I was careful and followed all recommendations for eating/drinking/rinsing, but really I felt like I'd had nothing done. I've felt worse after burning my mouth or biting my lip. None of my friends who had their teeth pulled (all under local) had a recovery that can even compare. It was a total non-event. I would have thought maybe it was just me, but my husband then had to have his pulled (and they were impacted) and had the same experience. One of the best things was that I didn't need any pain meds which usually make me very sick.

Best wishes with your extraction!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007, 1:31 PM

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I had it done many years ago, completely under with an IV). I didn't feel like there were any drawbacks. It turned out that one of the four was impacted (this was not expected) and it may have been a good thing to be completely under, since that certainly means more work, probably less pleasant work.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007, 1:54 PM

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I had both kinds and can attest to the recovery from having 3 removed under general anesthetic was *much* easier. I needed no Rx painkillers and no time off from work. The one done under local 10 years later required a couple of days on percocet and vicodin along with a reduced workload.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007, 1:55 PM

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I went under and don't regret it for a second. A bonus of the surgery - I lost weight only eating yogurt, chicken broth and other liquidy foods. :)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007, 2:10 PM

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First of all, make sure you go to an oral surgeon (board certified). A general dentist can pull teeth and they may do an occasional 3rd molar extraction but it isn't bread and butter work for them like it is for the oral surgeon.

Make sure they take a panoramic xray so there are no surprises lurking just a mm away from the extraction site that wouldn't be caught on a typical dental xray.

Listen to the oral surgeon. If he or she recommends IV sedation, consider the advice very seriously. One person's extraction is not necessarily like another person's. Some 3rd molars are impacted under soft tissue or bone, some are sideways. sometimes there are more than 4 teeth (extra wisdom teeth are not all that unsual). So the surgery may be involved and require bone drills. You will be a lot happier if you are "under sedation".

Ask about your teeth, whether or not they are impacted, and how involved the extractions and recovery will be. Ask about healing time.

If you have a good Oral surgeon, trust that all will be well because most people just don't have room for their wisdom teeth and they are much better getting them out which means a lot of people are getting them extracted and things go well. In other words, if you are getting treatment from a board certified OS who is seasoned (experienced) and you know others who have gone to this person with no trouble, most likely you will be fine.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007, 4:19 PM

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I had mine removed under IV sedation, and it was great! Literally, I remember them putting in the IV, and a couple seconds later, waking up and my mom was there and it was all over.

My doctor told me I could do it either way, but if I did local, I'd know all of what was going on, how much I was bleeding, etc., and even though I wouldn't be able to feel pain, I'd still be able to feel pressure and hear the "popping" of the roots being pulled and broken. That sounded terrible to me, and I knew I wouldn't want to remember all that! So I chose to be sedated.

Afterwards, my mom took me home, and bought me a frosty, which I managed to drool all over myself b/c of the local anesthetic, which I guess they used in addition. They gave me percocet to take if I had pain, but I ended up not taking it because I needed to study for an exam. It hurt, but it wasn't a huge deal.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007, 4:47 PM

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Wow I'm jealous of all those "easy" experiences and recoveries out there!

I had mine removed in highschool over 10 years ago and all 4 were sideways and impacted. It was the worst experience of my life!! I was put completely under but the swelling in my face and jaw was crazy. I looked like a garbage pail kid, honestly. I missed school and was on pain meds for several days.
I do have a tiny mouth though and have actually had permanent teeth removed for this reason.
So my advice is listen very carefully to your surgeon, what he recommends is probably best for your situation.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007, 4:48 PM

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I had 4 "boney impactions" removed under general. The oral surgeon didn't give me a choice because they were going to be so difficult to remove. Besides being so hudely swollen that I couldn't fit a toothbrush in my mouth for nearly a week, and so bruised that my husband got evil stares from strangers when we were out in public together, it was a great recovery. I only needed extra strength Tylenol for pain the first 2 days. Good luck!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007, 9:15 PM

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Local here, only one removed (I'm 41 and still have the other three--can you say bigmouth? LOL). Had quite a few bone/gum capsules removed also. Cracked the jawbone (not seriously). No painkillers after, and the worst part was the memory of how that cracked jawbone sounded.

No swelling visible in my face. I was very lucky. I know.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007, 9:32 PM

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I had an unpleasant experience with a local anesthetic - I would listen to the surgeon and go with the general. We had a friend who just had his wisdom teeth removed under a general anesthetic and he said it felt (to him) like he was only out for 20 minutes and it was really well over an hour. He didn't have much pain and had no swelling or bruising.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007, 10:32 PM

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I got all 4 removed last year. I'd say go with IV, wasnt given the choice for local.

I was kinda nervous about it since my mom had an operation a while before with IV, and they gave her THREE doses and still had to wait half an hour for her to go under.

Groundless fear though, I went through it just fine. Went out like a light, came back all funky and stumbling, slept the rest of the day. I don't see why you're so eager to remember every detail of the operation. XD I wouldn't be.

Thursday, October 04, 2007, 11:41 AM

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OP here-

Thank you for all your advice so far. :)

11:41 poster-
It's not that I'm eager to remember the surgery, I just don't want to have things done to me without my knowledge. I do trust the surgeons, I just like to be in control of things, and it's difficult for me to give that up.

Thursday, October 04, 2007, 12:39 PM

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OP, is there someone you trust - a husband, parent or child - that you could have go with you? Maybe the surgeon would allow that person to be in the room during the procedure, if you work it out in advance. Then, you at least have another person there "looking out for you" when you are unconscious. Maybe that'd make you feel better, that nothing would be done to you in ill will?

Thursday, October 04, 2007, 4:34 PM

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4:34...it is a good idea for a loved one to be there for the surgery...sitting calmly in the waiting room. You would not want to subject that person to the visuals of 3rd molar extractions.....especailly if the extractions are difficult.

I have seen parents faint when their kids get baby teeth extracted....and that is a situation where it is a good idea for the parents to be present because the kids are young.

If you trust your surgeon and they have been doing the work for a good long while , you will be in good hands. OS's have 8 years of training (past college) for their degree.

Thursday, October 04, 2007, 6:59 PM

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I had mine out when I was 19 or so, they were impacted and I had general. I slept like a baby afterwards, only to wake up very late in the evening (l lived at home then) and my dad had not bothered to get my pain med prescription filled) so I woke up screaming in pain. My mom dosed me by wetting cotton balls with Wild Turkey and putting them on my wisdom holes. I have been a bourbon lady ever since ; ) Always trust your doc. Even though your surgery might help him buy a yacht, he really is being paid to watch after your own interest. And it is a good idea to have a third party (even the nurse) to be in the room. You might just need someone you know to hold your hand.

Thursday, October 04, 2007, 7:08 PM

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i think you should do the sedation. the surgery sounds like it would be a bad experience. :[

Sunday, October 21, 2007, 8:45 PM

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I totally agree. I was supposed to get my wisdom teeth out, but the doctor wouldn't listen to me when I told him I have a reaction to needles (the needles themselves, not the stuff in them) and didn't want the IV. There is another option, oral sedation (a pill you swallow before hand), that is valium, i believe. I haven't had this done yet, but apparently it just makes you not care what happens, but you're still awake and aware the whole time. They give you nolvocaine also, for the pain. I am switching to a different OS, who will do this instead of the sedative.

Thursday, June 12, 2008, 6:49 PM

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I'm glad you clarified about wanting to remember the procedure. I was wondering who the heck would want to remember something like that. I'm having a root canal done tomorrow and would love to have an IV sedative for that. Jimminy Christmas!

Also, I don't think anyone would want to be there and watch something like that either. Yikes. Bruuuuuugh. I saw someone getting stitches in her arm, how gross could that be right? Again Bruuuuugh.

Everything will be fine, just get the IV, let them do their job. Again everything will be fine.

Thursday, June 12, 2008, 7:11 PM

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IV sedation is fabulous! I am totally phobic about the dentist, so when I had to have 3 of them pulled/dug out, there was no way I was going to be awake. It's not a big needle, if that's your issue, and I literally drifted off in a matter of seconds. I woke up pain free and stayed that way. Very little swelling and no bruising. I think that stuff happens based on the skill of your surgeon and what you're having done. I couldn't imagine being awake even if it was painless!!!

Friday, June 13, 2008, 10:16 AM

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clarification

I just wanted to let you all know that when you have IV sedation you are not truly asleep. You actually are awake but very relaxed and afterward you don't usually remember anything. That is why people think they are asleep. However, you will be present for the surgery, will be able to follow instructions and you won't be without any control. I hope that helps.

Friday, June 13, 2008, 3:31 PM

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I think it depends on what your situation is. If they are impacted or there are any complications like that, you might want to be sedated.

I did it under local. It felt like it literally took five minutes. He yanked all four of them out one after the other like it was nothing. Though I did choke on the blood (not to be gross).

It wasn't the most pleasant experience, but not a big deal. I didn't need any painkillers and had hardly any swelling.

Friday, June 13, 2008, 8:37 PM

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That's right that you are actually awake, I forgot about that. There's an amnesia "component" (for lack of a better term) in the sedation. Think about it, how else would you be able to open your mouth? I just don't think I'd want to be "awake" in the local sense because I think I would freak out with all the yanking and pulling going on. ICK, it gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008, 4:47 PM

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This is 7:11 here.
Had the root canal, I thought that Bill Cosby sketch was an exaggeration but there was actual SMOKE coming out of my mouth.
Crazy.

So OP, let us know what you decide and how it went!

Monday, June 16, 2008, 1:16 PM

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Local only - got all 4 done. No problems at all. Didn't feel a thing.

Monday, June 16, 2008, 1:43 PM

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I did local too but with profound high nerve blocks (literally couldn't feel the lower half of my face). Had 2 boney impactions that required bone drills with surgical extractions, one soft tissue impaction which required cutting through the gingiva to get to it, then one routine extraction (only wisdom tooth that actually came in).

This is not an experience for everyone. I am sturdy and able to calm myself (I also have a DMD).

It the Oral surgeon recommends sedation go for it. I was able to sit through this extensive involved oral surgery because I wanted to know what was happening. I also got the shakes which is not unusual AND I was not in pain or feeling emotional trauma....but my body was feeling trauma.

Monday, June 16, 2008, 2:03 PM

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I just had all 4 of my wisdom teeth removed on Wednesday with iv sedation. It definately wasnt a painless success story like some of the others i have read but i definately wouldnt recommend getting it done without sedation. Mine were inpacted and causing me all kinds of problems for the last 6 years, so they ended up having to cut parts of my jaw bone out and i couldnt imagine having to do any of it...even without complications without being sedated. Gives me chills just thinking about it much less being completely aware of it all. Also, good for those who didnt have to use the pain meds but i would definately have them ready for when you come out of your sedative state bc its been 6 days and i am still in pain, its getting better little by little but i definately needed the pain meds and will still probly need them for the next few days, atleast.

Monday, June 16, 2008, 4:27 PM

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I'm a Registered Nurse and I understand your concern. Weighing the options I chose IV sedation. I didn't want to remember the sound of teeth breaking in my jaw, the taste of blood, and drooling all over myself. I only had a sore throat for two days from being intubated during the procedure. Good luck.

Monday, June 16, 2008, 10:20 PM

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Good experience

I had mine removed during high school at Piney Point in Houston and loved the staff. I read up on quite a bit of information before I went into the procedure, which made me feel a little bit better. Luckily, I followed all of the instructions (maybe was a little TOO careful) and recovered without a hitch.

My procedure was done under local anesthesia and I actually preferred it that way. I was sedated right before the procedure began, then woke up afterward and other than feeling a little drowsy, was good to go.



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