The thought of having one’s wisdom teeth removed is never on anyone’s priority list. It’s an unfortunate reality that most of us have to go through at some point in our lives. A question that gets posed by many patients is whether it’s recommended to have your wisdom teeth removed while you are awake or asleep. In this article we will discuss both options, and we will let you decide what option is right for you.
What are wisdom teeth?
Your wisdom teeth are the last molars to form in the back of your mouth. The onset of your wisdom teeth is commonly between the age of 17 to 25. Of course, your wisdom teeth don’t make you any smarter. You are already older and wiser by the time your wisdom teeth appear, hence the name wisdom teeth. Normally, you will get 4 wisdom teeth to complete your adult set of 32 teeth, nevertheless it is quite common for adults to lack some of these 4 wisdom teeth. The wisdom teeth are the strongest and widest of all teeth, suited to grind all types of food. This sounds like a useful tool for adults. Then why is it so common to remove the wisdom teeth from people’s jaws? The most frequent reason is the lack of enough space to develop in a healthy way. The wisdom teeth are in the far back of the mouth making it hard to brush and floss them properly, especially if there is not much space, risking cavities or infections. This is often another reason to remove your wisdom teeth. The extraction of your wisdom teeth has to be done surgically and is an expensive procedure. Is there an option to reduce the cost of surgery?
See Also: Wisdom Teeth Removal
Reduced cost being awake for your wisdom teeth removal surgery
It is possible to stay fully awake during the removal of your wisdom teeth and only receive local anesthesia. The dentist will poke in your gum to check if you don’t feel anything. If so, the procedure will start, if not, more anesthesia will be given until the area is fully numb. This can reduce the cost considerably compared to sedation.
The cost of sedation is principally determined by the level of deepness and the duration of the sedation. Mild to medium sedation can be achieved by nitrous oxide also known as laughing gas. Expect a price range of $100-$150 for the first hour and $25-$50 increments for every 15 minutes extra. IV deep sedation is considerably more expensive and will bring you into deep sedation. For this type of sedation, it starts at $300 and can go all the way up to $1000, depending on the duration of the sedation. If you do not suffer from any level of dental anxiety, it is clear you can reduce the cost of the final bill considerably, by staying awake during the procedure.
Dental anxiety concerns by being awake
Dental anxiety is the most prominent reason for patients to request for a certain level of sedation. It could be that you had a horrible experience with the dentist before, and you are extremely anxious about any dentist appointment, let alone for surgical removal of wisdom teeth. Another factor that triggers dental anxiety is low pain tolerance. Despite the fact that local anesthesia will be given in all cases of wisdom teeth removal, the fear of the pain including the sting of the needle is enough reason for some patients to opt for IV deep sedation. As a general rule of thumb choose for nitrous oxide when you suffer from mild to moderate levels of dental anxiety. Patients suffering from severe dental anxiety and/or low pain tolerance levels are advised to choose for IV deep sedation. Additionally, take into consideration that the effect of nitrous oxide completely wears off in about 15-20 minutes. Allowing you to drive home by yourself after the operation. Patients who opt for IV deep sedation need to bring someone along for the surgery to drive you back home afterward.
Benefits of sedation for wisdom teeth removal
As mentioned in the previous section, sedation reduces stress and anxiety for patients suffering from dental anxiety. For these patients, it is a soothing thought that they will be sedated during surgery.
Increased safety is another benefit of sedation. Involuntary movements of the patient can be a potential hazard, making it more difficult for the dentist to execute the surgery without any errors or unnecessary damage. Sedation eliminates the risk of any involuntary movements. If you know from past experience that you make involuntary movements during procedures at the dentist, consider sedation.
Sedation also eliminates the sensation of pressure during the removal of the wisdom teeth. Although the pain is eliminated by the local anesthesia, the patient will still feel the pressure of the surgery, especially the removal itself can be an unpleasant sensation. IV deep sedation is the most comfortable way to undergo wisdom teeth extraction in the end.
Patients scheduled for several procedures have an additional benefit from IV deep sedation. It gives the oral surgeon the option to combine several procedures in just one or 2 appointments because the surgeon can work very effectively for one long stretch. In this particular situation, it might even reduce the cost when opting for IV deep sedation.
See Also: Sedation Dentistry
There is no simple answer to the question, “Should I stay awake or sleep, while my wisdom teeth are extracted?” It is important to consider your pain tolerance level and severity of dental anxiety. If the answer is high to one or both, you should definitely consider a type of sedation. Otherwise, it is a great opportunity to reduce the cost of your dentistry bill and pick the option of local anesthesia only.
Secondly, be aware of the predicted duration and intensity of the operation. No two wisdom teeth extractions are exactly the same. Is it just one or even up to four extractions at once. How deep are the wisdom teeth located in your jaw? Are your wisdom teeth full-bony, partial-bony, soft-tissue, or erupted in the jaw? Full-bony will require the most invasive procedure all the way down to a mere erupted wisdom teeth extraction.
At all times, discuss the topic with your medical specialist. The right decision can save you a lot of money, or protect you from severe stress and anxiety. In the end, you have to make the decision by yourself. At least by now, you know which considerations are important to make the best possible decision.