Are you preparing or getting ready for a wisdom tooth surgery and you are scared that you might just spill the beans and tell everyone your secret (probably something you did at a party that is embarrassed about)? Maybe you just don’t want to act funny after the surgery and you want to know why people act that way so you can avoid it.
In today’s guide, we’ll be looking at the mystery behind the reason why people act drunk after wisdom tooth surgery.
First off, let’s look at what a wisdom tooth is. In simple terms, a wisdom tooth or teeth is/are the last of the tooth or teeth that appear in your mouth.
Due to the lack of space towards the ends of your gum, people can have anywhere between 1 and 4 teeth.
Wisdom teeth are perfectly normal and do not cause alarm except if they start growing at odd angles or get stuck below the surface of gums, and start causing complications.
When your wisdom tooth becomes a cause to worry about, it becomes an impacted wisdom tooth and it’ll have to be removed otherwise it could result in other dental complications.
However, removing the tooth isn’t often the problem for most people but their reaction or behaviour after the tooth has been removed.
You probably must have seen videos or heard of people acting funny or loopy after being sedated for a dental procedure like wisdom tooth removal. Why do they act funny? To find out, read on!
The answer is sedatives
The sedative (anesthesia) given to dental patients can alter the brain’s chemistry to cause changes in consciousness and behaviour. The dental patient can take the sedative orally (oral sedation), through Intravenous (IV) sedation, or by inhaling it (laughing gas).
The method through which the patient receives the sedative depends on the medical history and several other factors. So why then do people act funny after taking them?
Laughing gas (nitrous oxide) sedation
In the case of nitrous oxide (laughing gas), when the patient inhales the gas, it blocks certain neurotransmitters in the patient’s brain that cause anxiety.
It also releases a brain chemical (norepinephrine) that reduces discomfort and pain and helps the patient feel relaxed and comfortable.
However, nitrous oxide tends to make people feel floaty and funny. Some people may find themselves laughing at things happening around them.
Hence the name “laughing gas.” The effect (change in consciousness) of the laughing gas is short-lived; it wears off within 5 minutes after the procedure has been done. In some cases, the patient might feel a little confused or nauseated but that also wears off quickly.
Just like the laughing gas, oral sedation (typically a benzodiazepine-based medication) also changes the brain activity but this time by increasing the effects of a certain brain chemical known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
Its effect is that helps the patient reduce anxiety and it can also affect the patient’s emotions, memory, and rational thought.
Oral sedation, on the other hand, has deeper and longer-lasting effects. Its effects after the procedure can last anywhere between 4 to 6 hours or longer and the benzodiazepine-based medication can lead to problems with decision making, interfere with your short-term memory, and alter the patient’s emotional state—this is the reason why you’ll see several videos of people behaving irrationally or act strangely after they have received the sedation from the dentist.
While intravenous sedation is given to the patient via a tube placed in a vein and its effect can make the patient feel relaxed and numb the pain.
Depending on the type and dosage, the patient could experience drowsiness, a calming effect, tingling sensations, and minor amnesia. However, the drowsiness the patient might feel usually fades off within several hours after the procedure has been done.