General anesthesia might seem a little scary at first, but it's something that people go through everyday with no major ill effects. If you've never been put under general anesthesia before and your first time will be at the dentist's office, try not to worry. This guide will walk you through what you can expect from the anesthesia before, during, and after.
The night before your dental surgery, you'll likely be given directions to not eat or drink after a certain time. It is very important for you to follow these directions.
The reason for this is that some people throw up during and just after general anesthesia. While it's not as common with dental surgery as other types, since dental surgery is usually quicker and you're exposed to the anesthesia for less time, it's better to be safe. By going into the procedure with an empty stomach, you can ensure that you won't be in any danger of throwing up.
Putting You Under
On the day of your procedure, you'll settle into a dental chair or operation table and the work will begin. Your dentist will likely talk to you before you get started and some basic prep work will happen, like setting you up with an IV.
Once your IV is in and you've been fully briefed, the anesthesia will start. There are two ways this could be done. Some dentists use a type of gas that initially puts you under before they start the full anesthesia. Others will just administer the general anesthesia right away through the IV. In either case, you won't feel any pain, and you don't need to worry about being conscious during the procedure. Your dentist may count down while the drug is being administered -- you should be unconscious before they reach the final number.
Waking You Up
Once your procedure is done, your dentist will immediately start prepping to wake you back up again. This will be accomplished by stopping the anesthesia drug and letting you regain consciousness.
When you first wake up, you'll feel groggy and possibly dizzy. Don't try to get up on your own. Take any help that's offered to you by the professionals, like a hand to help you walk or a wheelchair. These effects should wear off soon, but for now, you won't be able to drive, and you should stay supervised by a friend or loved one.
If you want to learn more about general anesthesia or other aspects of oral surgery, speak to your oral surgeon.