Should I get local or general anaesthesia for wisdom teeth?

Doctor's Answers 1

The main difficulty with removing lower molar teeth (including wisdom teeth) is the difficulty in ensuring profound anaesthesia.

The lower jawbone is dense and nerve blocks may be successful only about 50-60% of the time (if insufficient waiting time and only a single block is utilized). Patients with heavy musculature and a history of bruxism are more likely to encounter anaesthetic failure because of underlying chronic inflammation in the tissues surrounding their teeth.

This is the main reason why patients and dentists have difficulties with extractions or procedures on lower molars.

General anaesthesia or sedation will help to increase pain threshold by reducing anxiety. This means the local anaesthetic is more likely to work better. The short term amnesia that accompanies these modalities also helps minimize the psychological impact of a painful procedure. General anaesthesia requires the support and oversight of a trained anaesthesiologist in a facility with the requisite emergency life support equipment.

Pre-medication with anti-inflammatories as well as anxiolytic medications (for patients who cannot sleep the night before a procedure) will also help.

Similar Questions

When is local or general anaesthesia used for wisdom tooth extraction?

Generally, wisdom tooth removal involving surgical extraction can be carried out with only local anaesthesia. With local anaesthesia, you will not feel any discomfort or pain during surgery since the tooth and surrounding area will be totally numbed. General anaesthesic for wisdom tooth removal is hardly used. But it is occasionally used when the surgery is carried out at the hospital, which also requires other surgeries at the same time. If you are particularly worried about the surgery, sedation would be a good option to relax during the procedure.

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Answered By

Dr Ryan Yun


What dental procedures can be done under sedation instead of general anaesthesia?

Thank you for your question. Dental procedures can be quite terrifying for young children and for some adults with dental phobia. In order for dental procedures to be done comfortably for these individuals, anaesthesia will be required to alter their conscious state so that they can accept dental procedures. Sedation and general anaesthesia are forms of anaesthesia and differs in the level of altered consciousness. General anaesthesia renders the patient completely unconscious meaning the patient will not be able to see, hear, feel or remember any of the procedures done on them.

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Answered By

Dr Priscilla Lu


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