Nervous About Oral Surgery? Don’t Be — It’s Actually Painless!

woman getting ready for dental work

So your dentist tells you that you need oral surgery, and they refer you to a local oral surgeon to do the job. Perhaps you need to have some wisdom teeth extracted. Maybe you’ve suffered facial trauma and need surgery to reconstruct your mouth and jaw. Perhaps you need dental implants and require a dental bone graft done for them to be successful. Whatever type of oral surgery you’re staring down the barrel at, it can be a bit scary to wonder about…

Are you feeling nervous? You don’t have to be. Thanks to modern advancements in sedation dentistry, oral surgery is actually quite painless. You’ll barely feel a thing!

As a licensed maxillofacial surgeon serving Cincinnati, Columbus, and Dayton, Dr. Puckett is certified to offer all forms of sedation dentistry for oral surgery. Your comfort and pain management is his top priority. He goes above and beyond to help you feel relaxed, comfortable, and ensure that whatever surgical procedure is performed on your mouth, it’s painless.

So, what are your pain management options for oral surgery? Here’s a brief overview of the sedation dentistry we offer to make getting oral surgery a breeze.

Local Anesthetic: Numbing the Site of the Procedure

This is a minimally invasive way to administer anesthetic, and it’s the same pain treatment you’d expect to get during a dental appointment. An anesthetic (such as lidocaine or Novocain) is injected in and around the surgery area with a super tiny syringe. You’ll feel numb. Aside from the initial pinch, you really shouldn’t experience discomfort. If you do, don’t be afraid to tell your oral surgeon. We can always apply more. We want you to be comfortable.

Many of the treatments we do at our oral surgery clinic — including teeth extractions — can be done with local anesthetic alone. In fact, we can even remove your wisdom teeth with local anesthetic — though most patients prefer additional sedation methods. It’s really up to you. Your state of mind plays a factor in how “painless” a mouth surgery is, so if you need other sedation to help you stay calm throughout the oral surgical procedure. Don’t be a hero.

Nitrous Oxide with Local Anesthetic: Helping our Patients Chill Out

Nitrous oxide is a nice additive that can be administered during oral surgery to help you relax and ease your anxiety. It is generally done in conjunction with a local anesthetic. We typically use it for fairly simple oral surgeries, though we might use it for more complex procedures like wisdom teeth extraction if you prefer a local anesthetic over a higher form of sedation. The nitrous is given to you via an oxygen mix through a rubber nozzle that gently fits over your nose. We can adjust the amount given to match your comfort and anxiety levels.

IV Sedation: Deeper Sedation for More Involved Procedures

Commonly known as “twilight anesthesia,” intravenous (IV) sedation is a deeper form of anesthesia. You won’t technically be asleep, but you’ll be very groggy, with likely little to no memory of the oral surgery experience once you come to. During the procedure, you’ll be able to respond to commands, but you’ll generally be in a dreamlike condition, such as when you are woken up in the middle of the night but aren’t actually fully awake.

IV sedation is administered through an intravenous catheter. Medicine is titrated to achieve a period of brief but effective sedation. Your vital signs are closely monitored during and after the procedure. In general, you’ll feel extremely relaxed and completely unbothered by what is happening during the oral surgery experience. IV sedation is a great middle ground between nitrous oxide and general anesthesia.

General Anesthesia: For Complicated Oral Surgeries

When you think about being “put to sleep” during a surgical experience, you are thinking about general anesthesia. It’s our strongest sedation method available for oral and maxillofacial surgery. You’ll experience a more profound anesthesia experience with no memory of the actual procedure. We typically reserve general anesthesia for our most intense oral surgery procedures, including impacted wisdom tooth removal, dental implant placement, face or jaw reconstruction, or any larger oral surgical procedure.

General anesthesia takes a bit to fully recover from. Bring a friend or family member with you during your appointment — you’ll need someone to drive you home, as you’ll be very groggy following the surgery.

Nervous About Oral Surgery? Tips to Relax

If you’re feeling nervous about your upcoming oral surgery, it’s okay! That’s perfectly natural. We want you to feel as relaxed as possible. Here are some things you can try to help your visit.

Bring a comfort item with you — perhaps an afghan, lucky charm, maybe even a stuffed animal. It will help you relax and feel at ease.

Feel free to bring in your own music, if you’ll be awake during the oral surgery. Choose something relaxing, such as classical or meditative music. This, too, can help you relax.

Practice meditation and breathing exercises prior to your appointment. Being mindful can help you ease through your fears so you’ll feel centered and content throughout the oral surgery procedure.

Relax! You’re in Good Hands

Dr. Puckett is strongly committed to making your oral surgery experience as painless as possible. We understand the idea of oral surgery can be intimidating, especially if you are being put under or experience anxiety. We do everything we can to make your visit as relaxed and comfortable as possible. Yes, oral surgery can — in fact absolutely should — be a painless experience. Relax! You’re in good hands. Your pain management is our top priority.