Having Your Wisdom Teeth Removed When You Have Sleep Apnea

Dentist Blog

If your dentist has informed you that your wisdom teeth need to be removed and you have sleep apnea, you might be concerned. Sleep apnea can interfere with your ability to breathe when you're sleeping or lying in your back, and generally, wisdom teeth are removed while the patient is under general anesthesia. If you're looking for possible solutions to this problem, read on to learn what you can do about it.

Sleep Apnea Risk

If the proper steps to protect your airway are taken, sleep apnea poses little risk to patients who are put under general anesthesia. Since most surgical procedures include an oxygen mask anyway, a doctor will generally use a pressured surgical mask, your CPAP mask, or even intubate to keep your airway open.

However, this isn't possible when you're having wisdom teeth removed. Since your dentist needs to access teeth at the very back of your mouth, any kind of mask isn't possible, and an intubation tube would get in the way of the procedure. Putting you under general anesthesia without some kind of breathing support could result in your airway collapsing during the surgery, which could put your health at risk.

Avoiding General Anesthesia

While most people are put under to have their wisdom teeth removed to make the process as easy as possible for the patient and the surgeon, it's not required. It is possible for surgeons to extract wisdom teeth by heavily numbing the area with Novocaine. Since you would remain conscious during this procedure, it's the best way to have your wisdom teeth removed if you have sleep apnea.

What To Expect

When it's time to have your teeth removed, your dentist will carefully inject Novocaine in multiple sites to fully numb your gums. They may also choose to numb your lips and cheeks, since cutting into the gums may cause inflammation in surrounding tissues that could be uncomfortable.

Your dentist will place a mouth prop in your mouth to keep your mouth open throughout the procedure, and it will allow your mouth muscles to relax. The process beyond this is basically the same as a regular wisdom tooth extraction procedure; your dentist or surgeon will make an incision in the gum over or around the wisdom tooth, and proceed to either pull it out or cut it out, depending on whether the tooth has roots.

Sleep apnea can potentially put your airway at risk when you lose consciousness, so general anesthesia for an oral surgery isn't wise. If you need to have your wisdom teeth removed and have sleep apnea, talk to your dentist about using local anesthesia instead to preserve your airway.

For wisdom teeth removal, contact a clinic such as Family Medical Dental Center


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