If you’re heading into your wisdom teeth surgery and have never been under anesthesia before, it can be nerve-wracking. You might be asking questions like: How do I prepare? What will it feel like? Will I say anything embarrassing?
Here, you can find all the details you need for your first time facing anesthesia, from what to do beforehand, to what to expect during and after.
Before your surgery
You will typically meet with your oral surgeon or anesthesiologist before surgery to go over what you should do and let him or her know your medical history.
Usually, your doctor will tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. Occasionally, you will be allowed to drink water that morning. Talk to your oral surgeon and anesthesiologist about what they recommend.
You will need to arrange for someone to bring you home after the procedure, as you will not be allowed to drive for 24 hours. It’s also a good idea to have someone stay with you for a while when you get home.
If you take regular medication, ask your anesthesiologist if you should continue to take them on the days approaching your surgery. Make sure you do not interrupt any medications unless you are told to by your doctor.
During your surgery
You’ve probably heard the terminology that you will be “put under,” meaning you will not be able to remember anything of what goes on during your surgery. When you arrive, you will be taken care of by the nurses who will record your vital signs, perform any necessary pre-tests, and hook you up to the machines.
Once the administration of anesthesia begins, you will go through three stages. Stage one is induction, when you start to be given medication and feel its effects, but you’re not quite unconscious. Your anesthesiologist will inform you that he or she is “putting you under,” and may ask you to count to 10. You will lose consciousness before you finish counting.
When you lose consciousness, you’ll be in stage two, excitement. For a short time you will be fidgety and breathe irregularly, but you will rapidly progress to stage three, where your muscles will relax and you’ll breathe normally. You’ll stay here for the majority of the surgery, although, as mentioned, you will not remember any of it.
After your surgery
When you stop receiving anesthesia, you’ll be brought out slowly, often with warm IV fluids and pain relief medication. Some people recover faster than others. You will feel numb in the area where the surgery was performed and may feel nauseous, light-headed, or confused.
You should be able to go home 1-4 hours after your surgery, depending on how fast you recover. Your doctor will give you verbal and written instructions on how to care for yourself when you get home and following the surgery.
At home, you may still feel some of the effects of anesthesia such as nausea and drowsiness as you recover. Make sure you follow the instructions of your doctor and ask questions if you’re unsure.
Now that you know what to expect from anesthesia, you’re ready to set up your appointment to get your wisdom teeth removed! If you need help finding an oral surgeon in Utah, use our surgeon finder tool to find one in your area.