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General anesthesia for wisdom teeth extraction - is this common?

B

bahblah

Junior member
Joined
Aug 15, 2018
Messages
16
Hello all,

I have general anxiety and am terrified of all doctors in general. I managed to put my anxieties aside for the past few years and started seeing a dentist and while I am usually super anxious I can make it through. My dentist has been recommending I check in with an oral surgeon about my wisdom teeth which are not bothering me at the moment but by bottom two are growing into my back teeth, one of which is completely sideways. My top two have grown out and have cavities that have been filled but are still deteriorating.

Anyway, I thought I would go hear the oral surgeon out and maybe not do anything if there was no need. At the appointment, the oral surgeon explained that because my bottom two teeth are halfway out and leaning against my back teeth it is likely I will get cavities in the gap that will ruin my wisdom teeth and the teeth next to them. I was told I should get all 4 wisdom teeth out. The top two are in bad condition with decay and they may drop down and begin to irritate my jaw.

I am now thinking I have to get the surgery to prevent it from ruining the teeth next to my wisdom teeth but I am freaking out. I had the appointment last week and have not had a good night sleep since and have been having nightmares about it. I've been online looking up worst case senarios.

My main worry is the anesthesia -- the oral surgeon told me that I would need to get general anesthesia through an IV. I am terrified that I may be allergic to anesthesia without knowing -- I've never had surgery. When I asked about this, the oral surgeon said him and his team are trained in emergencies and if this happens they will put a tube in my throat and call 911 but its very rare. After doing some reading online, I found some horror stories, including a website that listed all wisdom teeth extraction related deaths. Online searching is not always great. This website has been the most helpful at helping with my anxiety but still.

It seems like a recommendation for general anesthesia is very rare and only in the most difficult cases! I'm in the U.S. but it looks like most dentists do conscious sedation and in the UK its only done in hospital settings. I didn't specifically ask but I think it will be a case where the oral surgeon will also administer the anesthesia, not an anesthesiologist. I've got 1 sideways tooth that will need to be cut out. But the other's are grown out so I assume it shouldn't be too difficult of a surgery. I don't know if I should seek a second opinion. This is the only oral surgeon in my area that takes my insurance and its 40 minutes away from where I live. I don't want to waste my savings on a second opinion if it's just the anxiety talking so I wanted to see if anyone else had a similar experience.

Any thoughts?
 
M

MountainMama

Well-known member
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Jul 1, 2018
Messages
2,538
I had all four (plus two tiny extras) wisdom teeth out under general anaesthesia. I am also in the U.S. mine were done quite a while ago. Mine were all impacted. I am also a worrier, but it isn't nearly as bad as what you imagine. You are very unlikely to be allergic to the anesthesia. I actually had a couple of the atypical situations happen with my surgery, and it still wasn't as bad as what I had imagined.
The stuff you read on the internet are the one in a million cases that usually have underlying issues, like an unknown health condition.
On the other hand, if you are truly afraid of general anesthesia, you can request local anesthetic and conscious sedation. My husband can not tolerate being put out for surgery...he hates the loss of control. He had all four impacted wisdom teeth removed under local anesthetic, and nitrous. The oral surgeon told him that he didn't recommend it, because the anesthetic might wear off before they were done. It did, and they gave him more shots. He said it wasn't bad.
 
D

Deleted member 28252

Former Member
I totally understand your fear! I have my appointment tomorrow to get all four wisdom teeth removed and I am getting general anesthesia. I am absolutely terrified.
I did what you did and googled stuff and saw that same page with all the deaths. I gotta get it over with though. Mine are all impacted going sideways so he has to drill through bone on all four. It’s hard to not flip out. I’ve just been praying a lot and just telling myself (you gotta do this girl) haha. I’m sure yours will be fine also! Good luck!!! :)
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
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I second MountainMama. If GA scares you to a point where you don't feel able to get the procedure done, seek for a second opinion and other sedation options. It's your anxiety and your mental health therefore you are a boss.

For any stressful situation you have two options when it comes to dealing with it: either you change the situation (seeking a second opinion and a sedation option you feel ok with) or you change your thinking about it (reading about positive experiences with GA, letting your dental team explain to you what exactly happens in the body when having GA, asking to test wether you might be allergic etc.). Both are fine and you decide what you prefer.

All the best wishes and keep us posted.. oh and please, stay away from google.. why not reading some success stories here on the forum instead?
 
B

bahblah

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Aug 15, 2018
Messages
16
Thanks all. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to get my wisdom teeth out or not. Mine are that in between situation where they are not bothering me but what the dentist said does make sense for what may happen. The dentist was really honest and said he doesn't know if it will cause problems in the future but there is a chance it might and he doesn't know the odds for that.

Right now I'm having a hard time figuring out what's fact and what's anxiety. There is a website that someone keeps about how his wisdom tooth surgery gave him loads of side effects. I guess it's all odds now the odds of my wisdom teeth giving me problems vs the odds of side effects and problems.

For now, I think my course of action is that I will speak to my regular doctor to see if there's anything she can do to check my fitness for anesthesia. Is it possible to do an allergy check for the anesthesia? The oral surgeon said they give you a small amount first during the surgery and that's how they check.

The decision is weighing to heavy on me -- I wish I never went to the oral surgeon. I'm a bit stingy about having a second opinion -- we are not all that well off, and that money could be put to better use. So I really don't know. I just need more information!
 
B

bahblah

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Joined
Aug 15, 2018
Messages
16
Hi Imadinosaur, How did it go?

I totally understand your fear! I have my appointment tomorrow to get all four wisdom teeth removed and I am getting general anesthesia. I am absolutely terrified.
I did what you did and googled stuff and saw that same page with all the deaths. I gotta get it over with though. Mine are all impacted going sideways so he has to drill through bone on all four. It’s hard to not flip out. I’ve just been praying a lot and just telling myself (you gotta do this girl) haha. I’m sure yours will be fine also! Good luck!!! :)
 
A

assertives

Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2017
Messages
67
I had all four of my wisdom teeth out under general anaesthesia. The top 2 came out fully, but my bottom 2 were impacted. I also had 4 of my premolars extracted for braces. I too had alot of anxiety leading up to just before the surgery, and made the mistake of googling it. I think I probably also came across that same page that you read regarding all those wisdom teeth related side effects and death.

I live in Singapore, and here, all wisdom teeth surgery under general anaesthesia is done only at the hospital, and my ga was administered by an anaesthetist. Prior to surgery, I had to go for a pre-surgery evaluation where they pretty much evaluate if you are fit to undergo ga.

My surgery went well. It took slightly over 30 mins, and I slept very well. I woke up about 15 mins after my surgery ended. I didn't have any swelling or complications accept for a bit of a sore throat and not being able to eat solid foods because I had alot of holes in strategic places. Getting wisdom teeth extracted under ga is actually fairly common I think, especially with impacted ones that actually require a surgical extraction. My advice is don't google, it will only make your anxiety worse. Most of the bad scenarios that you see online are not the norm, they only make it to the internet precisely because it's not common and makes for good case studies.

As for getting my impacted wisdom teeth out, I personally regretted not getting them out earlier, because like what your dentist warned could happen, in terms of causing cavities in the tooth next to the wisdom tooth, that actually happened to me. One of my wisdom tooth caused a deep cavity in my 2nd molar. My dentist managed to clean it out and fill it, but warned that there's a 80% chance I'll need a root canal down the road. So do it while it is still not too late.
 
M

MountainMama

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 1, 2018
Messages
2,538
Thanks all. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to get my wisdom teeth out or not. Mine are that in between situation where they are not bothering me but what the dentist said does make sense for what may happen. The dentist was really honest and said he doesn't know if it will cause problems in the future but there is a chance it might and he doesn't know the odds for that.

Right now I'm having a hard time figuring out what's fact and what's anxiety. There is a website that someone keeps about how his wisdom tooth surgery gave him loads of side effects. I guess it's all odds now the odds of my wisdom teeth giving me problems vs the odds of side effects and problems.

For now, I think my course of action is that I will speak to my regular doctor to see if there's anything she can do to check my fitness for anesthesia. Is it possible to do an allergy check for the anesthesia? The oral surgeon said they give you a small amount first during the surgery and that's how they check.

The decision is weighing to heavy on me -- I wish I never went to the oral surgeon. I'm a bit stingy about having a second opinion -- we are not all that well off, and that money could be put to better use. So I really don't know. I just need more information!

I understand that it is a hard decision. Especially if the dentist told you that they may or may not cause issues later. If you decide not to have them out, please have your dentist monitor them closely. That way you can get them out if they do start causing problems
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Sep 18, 2017
Messages
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There is a website that someone keeps about how his wisdom tooth surgery gave him loads of side effects. I guess it's all odds now the odds of my wisdom teeth giving me problems vs the odds of side effects and problems.

This sounds like you had moved from fear of the general anesthesia to fear of complications linked to the wisdom teeth being removed...

If I can give you an advice, please try to keep in touch with your logical part, despite the anxiety. The most of people get their wisdom teeth out. Nowadays, being able to keep them is more rare as our jaws are often too small for it and even if they manage to come out, it's not easy to keep them clean.

I am wondering, why would someone even keep a page on monitoring problems that his/her wisdom teeth gave her and if you see such a page why would you value a subjective experience of this one particular person more than the experience of someone, who has been removing wisdoms all day long for the last 10 or so years (your surgeon) and also more than the collected experiences of all the people who had no troubles whatsoever after the surgery (the most of the posts here on the forum).

Anxiety is pure imagination. You having fear doesn't tell anything about the likelihood of you getting complications.
 
B

bahblah

Junior member
Joined
Aug 15, 2018
Messages
16
This sounds like you had moved from fear of the general anesthesia to fear of complications linked to the wisdom teeth being removed...

If I can give you an advice, please try to keep in touch with your logical part, despite the anxiety. The most of people get their wisdom teeth out. Nowadays, being able to keep them is more rare as our jaws are often too small for it and even if they manage to come out, it's not easy to keep them clean.

I am wondering, why would someone even keep a page on monitoring problems that his/her wisdom teeth gave her and if you see such a page why would you value a subjective experience of this one particular person more than the experience of someone, who has been removing wisdoms all day long for the last 10 or so years (your surgeon) and also more than the collected experiences of all the people who had no troubles whatsoever after the surgery (the most of the posts here on the forum).

Anxiety is pure imagination. You having fear doesn't tell anything about the likelihood of you getting complications.

Yes, I can come up with things to worry about all day every day! That's the hard part I need to make this logical decision and I can't even be logical. :o

I see validity to both sides of the argument for waiting until there is a problem or getting them out early. I'm still over the suggested age already. I'm just so scared to be the one in a million person who has the really bad side effect. I'm really glad there is a forum of people in the same boat too.
 
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B

bahblah

Junior member
Joined
Aug 15, 2018
Messages
16
I had all four of my wisdom teeth out under general anaesthesia. The top 2 came out fully, but my bottom 2 were impacted. I also had 4 of my premolars extracted for braces. I too had alot of anxiety leading up to just before the surgery, and made the mistake of googling it. I think I probably also came across that same page that you read regarding all those wisdom teeth related side effects and death.

I live in Singapore, and here, all wisdom teeth surgery under general anaesthesia is done only at the hospital, and my ga was administered by an anaesthetist. Prior to surgery, I had to go for a pre-surgery evaluation where they pretty much evaluate if you are fit to undergo ga.

My surgery went well. It took slightly over 30 mins, and I slept very well. I woke up about 15 mins after my surgery ended. I didn't have any swelling or complications accept for a bit of a sore throat and not being able to eat solid foods because I had alot of holes in strategic places. Getting wisdom teeth extracted under ga is actually fairly common I think, especially with impacted ones that actually require a surgical extraction. My advice is don't google, it will only make your anxiety worse. Most of the bad scenarios that you see online are not the norm, they only make it to the internet precisely because it's not common and makes for good case studies.

As for getting my impacted wisdom teeth out, I personally regretted not getting them out earlier, because like what your dentist warned could happen, in terms of causing cavities in the tooth next to the wisdom tooth, that actually happened to me. One of my wisdom tooth caused a deep cavity in my 2nd molar. My dentist managed to clean it out and fill it, but warned that there's a 80% chance I'll need a root canal down the road. So do it while it is still not too late.

Thanks Assertives! It seems like the U.S. is the only place where general anesthesia can be done in the dentist's office with the oral surgeon also being the anesthesiologist. I would feel so much better if they did make me do a general check-up and also have the procedure in the hospital. It's one of the things I may ask for when I call the dentist office.
 
M

MountainMama

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 1, 2018
Messages
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Thanks Assertives! It seems like the U.S. is the only place where general anesthesia can be done in the dentist's office with the oral surgeon also being the anesthesiologist. I would feel so much better if they did make me do a general check-up and also have the procedure in the hospital. It's one of the things I may ask for when I call the dentist office.

The oral surgeons in the U.S. must complete four years of training past dental school, and that training involves anesthesiology. They actually train at the hospital with medical doctors for that part most of the time.

Also, check into an oral surgeon that practices at the hospital. The oral surgeon I went to for my wisdom tooth removal this time had rights at the local hospital and anything requiring general anesthesia was done at the hospital. I am also in the U.S. I have actually been "lucky" enough to have had all four impacted wisdom teeth removed at age 18, then had another wisdom tooth grow in when I was in my early 30's. I just had the extra wisdom tooth (also impacted) removed last month. It was small so I didn't need general, but I had general the first time.
 
B

bahblah

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Joined
Aug 15, 2018
Messages
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The oral surgeons in the U.S. must complete four years of training past dental school, and that training involves anesthesiology. They actually train at the hospital with medical doctors for that part most of the time.

Also, check into an oral surgeon that practices at the hospital. The oral surgeon I went to for my wisdom tooth removal this time had rights at the local hospital and anything requiring general anesthesia was done at the hospital. I am also in the U.S. I have actually been "lucky" enough to have had all four impacted wisdom teeth removed at age 18, then had another wisdom tooth grow in when I was in my early 30's. I just had the extra wisdom tooth (also impacted) removed last month. It was small so I didn't need general, but I had general the first time.

My last two wisdom teeth didn't grow in until recently -- I guess they were a bit delayed. My first two came up in my early 20s and gave me no problems except for cavities that were easily filled. So the dentist never recommended I do anything about them but my latest two just came up and they are crooked and growing into my other teeth. I just hit 30 and everywhere says get them out when your 25 or younger.
 
A

assertives

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My last two wisdom teeth didn't grow in until recently -- I guess they were a bit delayed. My first two came up in my early 20s and gave me no problems except for cavities that were easily filled. So the dentist never recommended I do anything about them but my latest two just came up and they are crooked and growing into my other teeth. I just hit 30 and everywhere says get them out when your 25 or younger.

That was one of the things that I worried about as well. The age that I was getting them out. I had mine out last year, when I was 35, and everyone I've heard had them out in their late teens/early twenties. My wisdom teeth gave me no problems, even though it caused the cavity in my 2nd molar, and still there was no pain. But I have to admit, up until I discovered the cavity, I hadn't been to the dentist in 20 years, so I did not have the benefit of monitoring it.

Perhaps you could look for an oral surgeon who practices at a hospital or go to your local hospital to get it done? But adverse effects to ga is really not common though. My advice is still not to google all the possible side effects ever recorded and then take on the burden of all the what ifs. Also, take everything you read online with a pinch of salt. I personally have health anxiety and have found that googling only made it worse and that knowing too much can be a burden too.
 
M

MountainMama

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My last two wisdom teeth didn't grow in until recently -- I guess they were a bit delayed. My first two came up in my early 20s and gave me no problems except for cavities that were easily filled. So the dentist never recommended I do anything about them but my latest two just came up and they are crooked and growing into my other teeth. I just hit 30 and everywhere says get them out when your 25 or younger.

I don't think you can necessarily put an age on it. If they can tell they are going to be an issue early on, then they take them out early. Mine were pushing against my molars already at 18, and there was no room for them to come in. They had to come out or I would later lose my 2nd molars. This extra wisdom tooth was causing bone loss in my jaw, and pushing on a tooth that had a root canal. It needed to come out.
 
B

bahblah

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Just popped in to say I scheduled my surgery and its this week. Any words of encouragement would be helpful
 
Enarete

Enarete

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That's great news, give yourself a pat on the back for scheduling! So you are getting all of them out under GA?
 
B

bahblah

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That's great news, give yourself a pat on the back for scheduling! So you are getting all of them out under GA?
Yes, I didnt get a choice about it
 
grumpybear

grumpybear

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Aug 30, 2018
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All the best! Hope everything goes well for you. I had all my wisdom teeth out under GA as well. The procedure was definitely not as bad as I had imagined. I slept very well and woke up 15 mins after my surgery ended. I remember nothing. Coming out of GA felt like I had a tad too much whiskey the night before.
 
L

LittleLynnie

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Nov 22, 2016
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I had mine out under GA and all went really well. You will be so happy once it's behind you and you will realize that you worried for nothing.
 
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