Sedation Options for Wisdom Teeth Extractions

wisdom tooth extraction

Getting wisdom teeth extracted is necessary for most people. It’s a common procedure that can help alleviate numerous problems down the road and prevent other issues from occurring including impacted teeth and infections.

However, just thinking about the procedure itself can make some people very nervous and anxious, leading to many patients waiting longer than they should to have their wisdom teeth removed 

In cases where patients are particularly anxious about dental work, it’s important to consider sedation options available to help ease some of this tension. 

Is it time to get your wisdom teeth removed? We can help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. 

Is Wisdom Tooth Extraction Painful? 

Before having their wisdom teeth removed, the most common question from patients is, “Will it hurt?” As with any dental surgery, there will usually be some discomfort associated with the procedure. However, the dentist performing the surgery will take great care to make sure the patient doesn’t experience any actual pain. Letting wisdom teeth go without surgery can often lead to much more painful issues in the future.

Part of the initial discomfort is the physical feeling of having tools and dental equipment in the mouth during the procedure. The other part is the emotional stress it can cause for some patients. Managing pain through the use of anesthesia and sedation is common and helps patients avoid physical pain during the procedure. 

The oral surgeon will confirm you are completely numb and relaxed before starting the surgery. The mildest level of sedation is generally the recommended method, but dental professionals understand that particular circumstances will require additional sedation. Here’s what you should know. 

What Is Dental Sedation?

oral surgery

Dental sedation is a method used to block pain and help patients relax during a dental procedure. For a patient to receive the best dental care possible, sedation is often necessary during wisdom teeth extractions to ensure the patient remains calm and comfortable. 

Knowing the patient is not experiencing pain or anxiety during an extraction also allows the dentist to work more quickly and effectively, making sedation beneficial for both the patient and dental professional.

Although the overall intention of dental sedatives is to provide increased comfort to the patient and more straightforward functionality to the dentist, there are various levels of sedation offered. Factors such as the length of the procedure and your pain and anxiety threshold help you and your dentist decide which sedation level is best:

  • Minimal SedationMinimal sedation is preferred as it reduces patients’ anxiety and pain while maintaining their ability to respond to the dentist’s instructions or questions.  
  • Deep SedationDeep sedation is used less often for wisdom teeth extractions and is only considered after mild or moderate sedation is ruled out. 

Different Methods of Sedation

sedation methods

Oral surgeons can administer sedation medication through several different methods. The methods used depend on the sedation level the dentist is trying to achieve. These options include: 

  1. Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide is the most common method of sedation used by dentists. It is often called “laughing gas” and is inhaled by the patient through an oxygen mask. This method works fast and wears off quickly with more control over how aware a patient is. Once it wears off, the patient is conscious and aware as if waking from a deep nap. 

  1. Halcion

Helcion1, or Triazolam, is an oral sedative that comes in a pill and is prescribed for light sleep. The sedation effects come on quickly after taking the medication, but effects only last for one to two hours. This makes it an ideal option for many dental procedures. 

  1. Intravenous (IV sedation)

Typically used when deeper sedation is needed, a patient is administered sedatives through an IV that goes directly to the bloodstream. These sedatives work very quickly and are continuously monitored by the dentist. This provides increased control over how sedated a patient is during a procedure. 

Is Sedation Necessary for Wisdom Teeth Extractions? 

Although sedation is mandatory in some cases due to a patient’s anxiety level or the complexity of the procedure, sedation is not always needed. Some patients will only require local anesthesia before the surgery for very basic wisdom teeth extractions. 

Local anesthesia is an injection used to numb the mouth area which will be affected by the procedure. However, a patient that is fully aware during the surgery runs a higher risk of experiencing anxiety or discomfort during wisdom tooth removal.

Dealing with wisdom tooth pain? Absolute Dental can help you understand your options. Make an appointment today! 

What To Expect After Sedation 

Once you wake from sedation dentistry, the dentist will monitor your vital signs until it is safe for you to head home. You may experience some after-effects of the medication for up to a few hours after the procedure. Common side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness 
  • Relaxed 
  • Sluggishness or heaviness 
  • Slow reflexes 
  • Low blood pressure 
  • Headache 
  • Nausea 

How Long Does Sedation From Wisdom Teeth Last? 

If your dentist recommends sedation for removing wisdom teeth, you’ll want to make sure you take time to prepare for the recovery. It’s best to plan for about 24 hours after the procedure for complete recovery after sedation. 

Some people may feel back to normal a few hours after the procedure, and others take more than 24 hours to fully recover. Following the 24-hour rule for recovery is generally a good way to gauge what activities you’ll be able to manage after sedation. 

How Do I Determine the Best Sedation Option?

teeth x-ray

The best way to determine your ideal sedation option includes several factors:

  • Speak to your dentist or oral surgeon to assess how complicated your surgery will be  
  • Consider your coping levels when having dental work done 
  • Keep in mind that not all insurance plans cover sedatives, which could cost you more 
  • Ask about what sedation options your dentist offers before scheduling your wisdom tooth extraction; not all dentists offer all types of sedation 

For some individuals, the idea of having their wisdom teeth removed can be incredibly stressful or uncomfortable. Without sedation, it can be dangerous if patients move unexpectedly or begin to panic during the surgery, leaving the dentist unable to complete the procedure. For these cases, it’s often the best option to administer a sedative to the patient before the extraction, in addition to local anesthesia.  

However, all sedation options should be discussed with your dental professional to fully understand the risks of each method and the side effects you may experience before making a decision. 

Remember to factor in time for the effects of sedation to wear off as well as recovery time at home to let the gum tissue heal and watch for any post-surgery issues such as dry socket. 

Wisdom Teeth Extraction Las Vegas 

Absolute Dental can assist with all your regular dental procedures, oral surgery, and wisdom tooth extraction Las Vegas needs. From our expertly trained compassionate dentists, Absolute Dental provides quick, efficient, and compassionate care. Contact us today to set up an appointment. 


1WebMD. Halcion – Uses, Side Effects, and More. Retrieved 17 May 2022.

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