The Safety of Anesthesia for Oral Surgery

Oral Surgery Anesthesia

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

If you or someone you know is going to have oral surgery, it is normal to be anxious and question the safety of anesthesia. Naturally, as with any type of anesthesia, there are risks involved.

Anesthesia for oral surgery has been proven over and over to be very safe. In fact, dental anesthesia has a much lower death rate than hospital operating room anesthesia and deaths from patients sedated for dentistry are very, very rare.

According to Dr. Joel Weaver, professor and director of anesthesiology at Ohio State University's College of Dentistry, one out of 350,000 patients sedated for dentistry die each year.

An article in the Journal of Clinical Anesthesiology, by rate of comparison, reports a rate of one out of 100,000 deaths from hospital operating room anesthesia. This is 3 and a half times higher than the rate of dentistry.

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 7 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.

It is very easy to focus on negatives and question the safety of sedation for any type of surgery. I can assure you that oral surgery, including wisdom teeth removals are very common and they are performed hundreds of times a day by certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons with little or no complications. Anesthesia for oral surgery has been proven over and over to be extremely safe.

Was this page helpful?