The Safety of Anesthesia for Oral Surgery

Oral Surgery Anesthesia

If you or someone you know is going to have oral surgery, it's normal to be anxious and question the safety of anesthesia. Naturally, as with any type of anesthesia, there are risks involved. For local anesthetics, the type used during oral surgery, the main risk is that the patient is unusually sensitive to the drug and has problems with a heartbeat, circulation, breathing, or brain function that require emergency care. This must always be available wherever they are used.

Anesthetist administering gas to patient
Science Photo Library - IAN HOOTON. / Getty Images

That said, anesthesia for oral surgery has been proven over and over to be safe. According to Joel Weaver, DDS, Ph.D., an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Columbus, OH, and former professor and director of anesthesiology at Ohio State University College of Dentistry, one out of 350,000 patients sedated for dentistry die each year.

From the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, "The largest study of anesthesia administered in oral and maxillofacial surgery offices demonstrates high level of safety and patient satisfaction according to the most extensive research study, over a period of seven years, conducted on anesthesia." During this study, 34,000 patients were administered office-based anesthesia by Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Out of 34,000 people, only about 6% had minor side-effects that are commonly associated with anesthesia such as nausea. There were no deaths or long-term adverse effects during this study.

Anesthesia can be administered via mask or IV and may be administered by the a dentist, oral and maxillofacial surgery specialist (OMFS), or an anesthesiologist.

It is very easy to focus on negatives and question the safety of sedation for any type of surgery. Oral surgery, including wisdom teeth removals are common and are performed by certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

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