Wisdom Teeth Removal: Local Anesthesia vs. General Anesthesia

Oral Surgeon Elk Grove

Oral Surgeon Sacramento

Wisdom teeth, those late-blooming molars, often require removal due to various dental issues. When faced with this procedure, you might have questions about the type of anesthesia used. Today, we’ll explore the differences between local anesthesia and general anesthesia in wisdom teeth removal, helping you make an informed decision for your dental health.

Local Anesthesia:

Explanation: Local anesthesia involves the administration of medication to numb a specific area of your mouth. It’s commonly used in various dental procedures, including wisdom teeth removal.

How It Works: The dentist injects the anesthesia near the wisdom tooth or teeth to be extracted. This numbs the targeted area, rendering it painless during the procedure while allowing you to stay awake and aware.


  • Consciousness: You remain conscious and aware throughout the procedure, which can alleviate anxiety for some patients.

General Anesthesia:

Explanation: General anesthesia induces a temporary loss of consciousness and sensation throughout the entire body. It’s often used in complex or multiple wisdom teeth extractions.

How It Works: Before the procedure, an anesthesiologist administers the medication through an IV or inhalation mask. This puts you into a deep sleep, and you won’t feel any pain or have any memory of the procedure.


  • Pain-Free Procedure: You won’t feel any pain or discomfort during the extraction.
  • Complex Cases: General anesthesia is suitable for more complex or multiple extractions and ensures the patient is completely relaxed and unaware during the procedure.


Procedure Complexity:

  • Local anesthesia is often sufficient for straightforward wisdom teeth removals. General anesthesia is typically reserved for complex cases or when multiple wisdom teeth need extraction.

Patient Anxiety:

  • Some patients may prefer general anesthesia if they have severe dental anxiety or fear of the procedure. It allows them to be completely unconscious during the process.

Recovery Time:

  • Local anesthesia usually results in a quicker recovery, while the effects of general anesthesia can take a bit longer to wear off, requiring more post-operative care.

Conclusion: Making the Right Choice

The decision between local anesthesia and general anesthesia for wisdom teeth removal depends on various factors, including the complexity of the procedure and your comfort level. At Sacramento Valley Dental Specialists, our oral surgeon or dentist will discuss your options and recommend the most suitable choice for your specific case. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure a safe and pain-free experience, allowing you to bid farewell to those troublesome wisdom teeth with confidence.