If your dentist has recommended wisdom teeth removal for your child, you’re probably quite concerned about ensuring that this procedure is as comfortable for him or her as possible. Among the options you’ll need to explore to do that are your choices in anesthesia for your child. Your Washington DC oral surgeon will certainly discuss this issue with you and help you make the best possible decision in light of your child’s individual circumstances, but if you’d like to get a head start on learning about anesthesia options, here is some general information that can help.
For wisdom teeth removal, Washington DC oral surgeons generally offer three main anesthesia options. These include:
- Local Anesthesia – This involves the injection of a localized numbing agent – typically novacaine – into the soft tissues surrounding surgical sites, which temporarily deadens the nerves in the area to block pain sensations. When it is used as the sole form of anesthesia, it totally eliminates pain for most patients, but some feelings of discomfort or pressure may be an issue. For simple surgeries or patients who are not anxious in the dental chair, local anesthesia alone may be a good choice for wisdom teeth removal.
- Local Anesthesia Plus Nitrous Oxide – Washington DC parents who are concerned that the discomfort and pressure that may still be felt with just local anesthesia might be too much for their child may choose to combine local anesthesia with nitrous oxide. A very mild inhaled anesthesia option, nitrous oxide is delivered, mixed with oxygen, via a nasal mask. When administered with local anesthesia during wisdom teeth removal procedures, the combination of the two offers effective relief of pain, discomfort and pressure during surgery, creating a more comfortable experience for patients than is possible with local anesthesia alone.
- Local Anesthesia Plus IV Sedation – If your child will have a more complex procedure that will require some cutting of bone or a longer than average time in the dental chair, or he or she tends to be anxious during dental procedures, using a combination of local anesthesia and IV sedation may be the best option to ensure a safe and comfortable experience. IV sedation delivers sedatives directly into the bloodstream through an IV port placed in the arm. While patients are typically conscious throughout surgery, most are completely unaware of the procedure and have little, if any, memory of events once the procedure is completed and the anesthesia has cleared from their systems. Patients who use this option will feel the affects of the sedative drugs for several hours after surgery, so if your child is old enough to drive, make sure that he or she does not get behind the wheel for at least 24 hours after wisdom teeth removal.
As you discuss these options with your Washington DC oral surgeon at your child’s consultation appointment, it is important to make sure that your surgeon is aware of details like his or her typical level of pain tolerance and anxiety during procedures. Knowing how your child is likely to react to surgery will help your surgeon make the best possible recommendations in terms of anesthesia options – helping you to ensure that your child’s wisdom teeth removal procedure is as smooth and comfortable as possible.