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I’ve always been afraid of General Anesthesia and most anesthesia of any type.

So much in fact that I’ve had a colonoscopy, a uroscopy, wisdom tooth extraction, unmedicated childbirth – the list goes on and on – and no, I’m not tough, I’m not macho – I’m terrified of going under.

I’ve found that none of these procedures have been unbearable awake.

And though I’ve had a couple of wisdom tooth extractions, I’d never had an impacted tooth removed while awake, and frankly I really didn’t want to. But I’ve been dealing with infection in my body and because of my recent bout with C.dificile, I really had no choice but to get these last two impacted wisdom teeth removed while awake.

So this morning, I went to my oral surgeon expecting absolute mayhem. I’d gotten myself so worked up about it that I barely slept, I imagined the sounds and the smells and the pain I was about to endure for hours. I was so wrapped up in those thoughts on the drive to the oral surgeon that I missed my exit, I think it was subconsciously because my self preservation was kicking in, and I wanted no part of oral surgery while awake any longer.

I signed my consent forms and did my research before stepping foot in the office this morning.

The risks from General Anesthesia marked out - they don't apply.

I’m only writing this blog for one reason – to set your mind at ease about having wisdom teeth removed while awake.

Because general anesthesia is entirely overused in America.

  • My appointment was set for 8AM, and I arrived at 7:52AM.
  • By 7:59 Am I had already written a check for $262.00 – what is the point of dental insurance, really?
  • I was still waiting at 8:05 AM to be called back, but within seconds after noting this, I heard my name.
  • By 8:20 AM the doctor had already numbed me up and I was resting with nitrous oxide.
  • At 8:30 the doctor and his assistant came in to the room ready to work.
  • I remember at one point feeling hotness in a nerve on the bottom, but it was under control in nano seconds.
  • I was checking out at 8:47AM.


It took roughly 17 minutes to painlessly cut through tissue, bone and pull two impacted wisdom teeth. One was a Soft Tissue impaction (upper) and one was a partial bony impaction (lower) and to stitch up both sockets.

17 minutes, no pain.

Pressure, sure. Sounds, well – they weren’t as awful as I’d expected, sounded a little crackly.

I can not imagine having to be put under for this procedure.

Whether you’re worried about general anesthesia because you have other health risks, like I have, or if you just don’t have the money to pay for the anesthesia, or if your doctor isn’t making that option available to you, rest assured that you can handle oral surgery while awake.

I asked for these so I could put them under my pillow. $$$

Things to Purchase Before Hand:

  • Yogurt Pops
  • Microwaveable Mashed Potatoes (you won’t feel like cooking)
  • Ibuprofen (check with your doc, but it can be taken with most prescription pain meds)
  • Ice bags (I found these easy to make ice packs here)
  • Sterile Gauze
  • A Carton of Salt (after several days, they recommend salt water rinses)
  • Pudding, Jello, Applesauce, Yogurt, Bananas, and Soup
  • Juice, Sweet Tea and Water – because they say carbonated beverages are off limits for a few days

My best friends - Cold compress, directions, Gauze - not pictures, percocet that makes me itch to my soul

I’d love to hear about your oral surgery experience or how this blog has helped you to make your own informed decisions about what anesthesia is right for you during wisdom tooth extraction.

Of course, having wisdom tooth surgery while awake was great - the dry socket that followed wasn't as much fun.




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