So you’ve made your appointment. You’re getting your wisdom teeth out. You know how the day will go – you’ll wake up in the morning, head over to the doctor’s office, and be put under anesthesia for your surgery. But wait. What is anesthesia?
You probably don’t want to be knocked out for any period of time by something you don’t know anything about. Check out the facts about anesthesia below!
What is anesthesia?
Anesthesia is technically the way to control pain through the use of anesthetics, which is actually the medicine put into your body. Anesthetics can help you control your bodily functions, such as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and blood flow.
Anesthesia is most often used to make you unconscious during a surgery, but it can also be used to relax you or make you sleepy or forgetful.
Types of anesthesia
There are several types of anesthesia, and they each use different types of anesthetics for separate purposes. The three types include local anesthesia, regional anesthesia, and general anesthesia.
Local anesthesia is used to numb a single part of the body for small procedures, such as a shot straight to the gums or other area. With this kind of anesthesia, you would stay awake during the procedure.
Regional anesthesia is exactly what it sounds like – used to numb a region of the body. An epidural is a common example of this type. You may also take medication that helps you relax or sleep during the surgery.
General anesthesia is typically what you will receive during your wisdom teeth procedure, where you will be unconscious and pain-free through the surgery. It affects your brain, and therefore the rest of your body. Depending on your surgery and your doctor, you may get the anesthetics through an IV or by breathing it in, or through a combination.
What happens during anesthesia
Both before and during your surgery, your anesthesiologist will monitor you to make sure nothing goes wrong. He or she will check your vital signs (heart rate, breathing, blood pressure) several times throughout the surgery, as well as maintaining the anesthetics to keep you free of pain.
Once you stop receiving the anesthetics and the surgery is over, you will begin to recover. The time it takes the medicine to wear off depends on the type of surgery and how your body responds to it. As you recover, you might feel nauseous, have affected muscle control, or feel cold.
Understanding the basics of anesthesia can help ease your worries about getting your wisdom teeth out. To learn more about what it will be like to be under anesthesia, read our blog post, What to Expect from Your First Time Under Anesthesia.