Can I Drive After Getting a Tooth Extraction?
A tooth extraction can be a relatively simple procedure. It can also be more complex in some situations. Teeth may need to be extracted for a variety of reasons. A severely decayed or damaged tooth may need to be extracted if it is beyond saving. Teeth may need to be extracted for orthodontic purposes, such as severe crowding. A primary tooth may be blocking a permanent tooth from coming in properly. Wisdom teeth that come in at an angle or not at all will need to be extracted to avoid damaging the other teeth.
Whatever the reason you need to have a tooth extracted, you may have some questions about the procedure, such as: Can I drive after getting a tooth extraction? What kind of anesthesia will I need? Here’s what you need to know to prepare for your procedure.
Types of Anesthesia for Tooth Extraction
The biggest factor affecting your ability to drive after a tooth extraction is the type of anesthesia you will need for your procedure. Examples include:
- Local anesthesia. The most common type of anesthesia for tooth extraction is local anesthesia. This is administered via injection directly into the soft tissue of the mouth in the area where the tooth is being extracted. Local anesthesia numbs the nerves so that you don’t feel any pain during the procedure. It is normal to feel numb in the lips and cheeks, but it is safe to drive as long as you feel up to it afterwards.
- Nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is a form of sedation used to help patients feel more relaxed during dental procedures. You breathe it through a mask over your nose. After just a few seconds a calming sensation should take effect. In most cases local anesthesia will be used along with nitrous oxide to prevent you from feeling any pain. In just a few minutes after you return to breathing regular room air, the effects of nitrous oxide will wear off and you will be able to drive.
- Conscious oral sedation. Another form of sedation that may be used for tooth extraction procedures is conscious oral sedation. This comes in the form of a pill or liquid that you take before going to your appointment. It will take effect anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and it can take a few hours to wear off, which means you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment.
- IV sedation. When a tooth extraction will be particularly complex, lengthy, or invasive, your oral surgeon may recommend IV sedation. This is administered intravenously and will make you feel as if you are asleep, although you are still technically conscious. You most likely will not remember anything about the procedure afterwards. Someone will need to drive you to and from your appointment if you require IV sedation.
What Type of Anesthesia Will My Procedure Require?
The type of anesthesia you will have will be determined by a few different factors, such as:
- Size and type of tooth. The larger the tooth, the more difficult it may be to extract. Wisdom teeth are large and often more challenging to extract, meaning you may need a deeper level of sedation, such as IV sedation. Smaller teeth may only require local anesthesia.
- Number of teeth being extracted. If you need to have multiple teeth extracted at once, it is sometimes best to be sedated because the procedure can take a while.
- Location and position of the tooth. A tooth that is stuck below the gums can be more difficult to remove and may require sedation. Impacted wisdom teeth often require IV sedation.
- Your personal preference. If you feel comfortable having teeth extracted without sedation, local anesthesia may be sufficient for you. However, if you feel nervous or anxious about the procedure, sedation can be helpful.
Where Should I Go For Tooth Extraction?
Fullerton Oral Surgery specializes in tooth extractions, meaning we have the experience necessary to extract any type of tooth in any position in your mouth. From small primary teeth to large wisdom teeth, we provide the necessary anesthesia to make the procedure as comfortable as possible for our patients.