Learn more about how to prepare for general anesthesia for your oral surgery.

Many oral surgeries require general anesthesia, and while general anesthesia is very common, if you’ve never experienced it before, it can be a bit scary. There may be a host of questions floating around your head such as, will I embarrass myself? or is it difficult to wake up after my surgery?   

It’s important for us to help guide you through what general anesthesia will be like, but rest assured, we will sit down and answer all of your questions before your surgery. Communication is a part of our patient care and we want you to have all of the information you need to make this experience a positive one. 

At the Alaska Center For Oral + Facial Surgery, we’re here to support you in every part of your oral surgery experience — from your first consultation to aftercare. If your upcoming oral surgery is still nerve-racking, take a moment as we walk you through some tips and consideration as you prepare for general anesthesia.  

General Anesthesia

While there are many types of anesthesia, general anesthesia is the most robust and one of the most frequently used in oral surgeries. This type of anesthesia allows a patient to be unconscious in a means to prevent any pain and keep the body immobile during the procedure. 

If you’d like to learn more about anesthesia, read these posts:

What is the purpose of general anesthesia?

For some basic dental procedures, local anesthesia can be used, but the purpose of general anesthesia is to keep the patient comfortable during more complex and lengthy surgeries, where any other type of anesthesia just wouldn’t suffice. 

In some cases, it might also be traumatic for the patient to be awake, even if they felt no pain — watching the oral surgeons perform surgery is not a relaxing way to spend a couple of hours in surgery!   

Your Experience With General Anesthesia 

It’s important to note that general anesthesia is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The anesthesia is tailored to the individual and takes in considerations such as:

  • Your weight
  • Your age
  • How rigorous the surgery is – An extraction differs from corrective jaw surgery.
  • The surgery duration – Is your surgery two hours or eight hours? 
  • Your exposure to depressants – It makes a difference how much alcohol you drink or if you’re on pharmaceuticals.

The anesthesiologist at AOFS will work with you to develop a general anesthesia dosage ideal for you!

Additional factors to consider with general anesthesia include:

Nausea and Vomiting – This is a very common issue with patients following general anesthesia, and it is easier to prevent than treat. So, if you have a history of nausea, be sure to mention this before your surgery. 

To help ease any nausea after surgery, sip on ginger or peppermint tea.  

Dry Mouth – You may wake up with a dry mouth post-surgery, but this usually goes away once you begin drinking liquids. 

Sore Throat/Hoarseness – A sore and raw throat can occur as a result of the breathing tube which can cause an irritation and some discomfort. Help coat your throat with honey or marshmallow root.  

Sleepiness – Because there is some remnant of the anesthesia after you wake, there is a potential that you will feel sleepy and a little groggy. This will resolve on its own after the remaining anesthesia is able to cycle out. 

Muscle Aches – Because general anesthesia essentially paralyzes your body, you’re laying still during surgery for an extended amount of time which can cause your body to feel achy and sore once you wake. This is temporary and will subside in time. 

Itching – People often experience an itching sensation as the general anesthesia is administered and when they wake up. This will typically go away after the anesthesia has run its course and after the pain medication is no longer needed. 

Confusion – There are some funny videos out there of people being confused after surgery and acting silly, but confusion can often be experienced in senior patients and those with dementia or Alzheimer’s. 

Ileus – If you experience constipation after surgery it’s not uncommon and can be a result of ileus where your intestines are a little slower to wake up and perform their function (elimination) after surgery. 

Now that we’ve examined what you may experience from general anesthesia, let’s dive into some helpful considerations to help make your experience with going under general anesthesia positive.

Planning For General Anesthesia InfographicStop Taking Unnecessary Medications

In your pre-surgery consultation, the oral surgeon and staff members will cover all the things you need to do to prepare, including to abstain from unneeded prescriptions. There are drug interactions that the anesthesiologist needs to factor in, and anything unwarranted could affect how you respond to anesthesia. 

It’s also important to disclose any concerns with alcohol and drug use, if you are struggling it’s important for your safety to let the anesthesiologist know. 

Stop Using Herbal Supplements

If you’re using herbal supplements, it’s recommended that you stop using them two weeks before your surgery. Like any other drug, they can cause contraindications with the anesthesia. 

Talk About Your Family History

Before your pre-surgery consultation, it’s important to review your family medical history. Make a list for the oral surgeon about any sensitivities or major health issues. 

Know Your Body

As much as it’s crucial that your oral surgeon gets an accurate account of your family medical history, it’s also important that you disclose your health history as well. This means knowing your body. Do you become easily nauseated? What are you allergic to? Think about what you’ve experienced or anything that’s come up recently to share with the oral surgeon. 

General Anesthesia At The Alaska Center For Oral + Facial Surgery

We understand how nerve-racking and intimidating general anesthesia can be and we’re here to make your surgery a success so we will always sit down and answer any questions you may have about your upcoming surgery. 


General anesthesia is extremely common and we have the best anesthesiologists on staff to keep you relaxed and comfortable. 

To learn more about our amazing oral surgeons and the procedures we offer, connect with us today!