Having your wisdom teeth removed can be a scary prospect, particularly if you already have anxiety about visiting the dentist. Fortunately, there are several pain management options your oral surgeon can provide to help make the process a bit more comfortable for you. Discuss the following options, along with any anxiety you might have, to determine the best course of action for your wisdom tooth extraction.

Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry may be a good option if you have impacted wisdom teeth or if your oral surgeon will need to make significant cuts into the gum to complete the procedure. Sedation typically involves IV or oral medication to help you fall asleep or enter an extremely relaxed state. You'll want to discuss your complete medical history along with any complications you might have had with sedation in the past. It's also a good idea to have transportation home arranged in advance as you won't be able to drive safely after being sedated.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, which you may know as laughing gas, is used in dental offices for a wide range of procedures. This option is a form of minimal sedation because it doesn't put you to sleep. It does, however, put you in a relaxed state so that you are better able to handle the tooth extractions. Your dentist will apply a mask and ask you to breathe deeply to inhale the gas. This may be done several minutes before the procedure begins, and it may also be repeated at some point during the procedure if needed. As with sedation, you may want to arrange for a ride home after your teeth are extracted. Nitrous oxide can be a great option if your wisdom teeth are relatively easy to remove but you are still having some anxiety about the procedure.

Local Anesthetic

In some cases, your oral surgeon will use local anesthetic by itself or in conjunction with sedation dentistry practices. Local anesthetic typically involves injections into the gum near where the work will be done. The injections help numb the gums so that you feel less pain and discomfort. The injections may feel like a slight pinch in your gums, but they may also be slightly more painful if you have sensitive gums. If you prefer not to be sedated, discuss how the local anesthetic will be used so that you can feel comfortable with the approach your dentist takes.

Your dentist may also recommend taking certain over-the-counter pain medications just before wisdom teeth extractions to help minimize discomfort. Be sure to ask which ones are right for you as some may have interactions with sedatives and other medications used during oral surgery.