Wisdom Tooth Extractions: Can You Drive Yourself Home After Surgery?

Posted on: 13 August 2018

When your dentist explains how your wisdom tooth extraction will work, they will give you some post-surgical care recommendations. This typically includes some instructions on what you can and can't do for the first few days after the procedure. On a more immediate basis, you may be wondering how you'll get yourself home after the appointment. Is it safe for you to drive?

What Kind of Anaesthetic Are You Having?

While many people have wisdom teeth extracted under local anaesthetic, some extractions are done under general anaesthetic, especially if the procedure is going to be more complicated. If you are having a general anaesthetic, then you shouldn't drive yourself home. In fact, the recommendation is that you don't drive for 24 hours after this kind of anaesthesia. While you may feel fine, you may actually be a little groggy and unable to think straight. Ideally, you should have someone with you to help you get home, or you should book a taxi for the journey.

Driving isn't typically a problem with local anaesthesia. In fact, the numbing affect of this kind of anaesthetic may give you a window of time where you don't have any real pain or discomfort, allowing you to drive yourself home without a problem. This may, of course, depend on how easy your extraction is.

How Complicated Will the Extraction Be?

Some wisdom teeth come out easily; others can be trickier to get out. Because these teeth sit at the back of the mouth, they can be hard to reach. Plus, if a wisdom tooth is impacted, it may not stand straight in your gums, making the extraction harder. In some cases, you may come out of the procedure with stitches in your gums. The size of wisdom teeth often means that they leave a big hole in your gums, and your dentist may prefer to stitch this up to help it heal correctly.

A more complicated extraction can leave you feeling a little wobbly as soon as you come out of the dentist's surgery. You may have some swelling, pain and discomfort from stitches. Plus, you may have residual blood seeping out of the wound until your blood starts to clot over the hole. All of these things can be a distraction and, if you feel bad enough, may mean that you don't feel up to driving safely.

If you aren't sure how you'll feel after wisdom tooth removal, then ask your dentist for advice on whether you can drive home or make other arrangements. While your dentist can't tell you exactly how you'll feel, they may be able to give you an indication of whether you should drive or not.