6 Ways to Prepare for Oral Surgery

Medically Reviewed by Alfred D. Wyatt Jr., DMD on October 22, 2020

Oral surgery can go a lot easier if you put in a little preparation. If you know what to expect ahead of time, you may be more at ease about what you need to have done.

Your process should start long before you walk in for your appointment.

1. Be informed. Schedule time with your dentist or oral surgeon to make sure you understand the reasons for your procedure. Find out the risks and benefits of what you’re having done. Bring questions to ask, too.

2. Make sure you have a ride. If you’re getting sedation, including nitrous oxide, you’ll need someone to drive you home. Anesthesia can impair your judgment, which makes it unsafe for you to operate a car. Ask a friend or family member to give you a ride. If nobody you know can do it, you can take a cab or use public transportation. If neither of those options are available where you live, ask the doctor’s office if it’s possible for you to wait there until it’s OK to drive.

3. Fast. If you’re going to be sedated,don’t eat or drink anything, including water, after midnight of the evening before your surgery. This reduces your risk of aspiration, a rare but serious complication of anesthesia that fills the lungs with the contents of your stomach. If you need to take medication during your fast, you can have a small sip of water, if need be.

4. Bare your arms. Wear short sleeves if you’re going to have sedation for your procedure. It’ll help nurses take your vital signs, give you your IV, or put blood pressure cuffs on you so they can monitor you during the surgery. 

5. Bring a box. Have a container with you to store dentures, partial plates, or removable bridgework while the procedure is being performed.

6. Give yourself time. On the big day, arrive at least 20 minutes early. This will give you time to complete any last-minute paperwork. You’ll also have a chance to relax before your surgery happens.

Right before the work begins, a nurse will take your vital signs. If you have any lingering questions about your procedure, this is the time to ask them.

Show Sources


Mayo Clinic: "Wisdom Tooth Extraction."

American Society of Anesthesiologists: "Smoking and Anesthesia."

American Association of Nurse Anesthetists: "Driving Under the Influence of Anesthesia."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Preparing for IV/Oral Sedation."

Hospital for Special Surgery: "Anesthesia Frequently Asked Questions."

National Institutes of Health: "Patient Education/Preparing for Third Molar Removal."

Northern Texas Facial & Oral Surgery: "Sedation Dentistry: A Safe and Comfortable Way To Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed"

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