With wisdom teeth being the last to erupt, often there is not much room left in the mouth to fit the new teeth. There aren’t many people who would look forward to a wisdom tooth extraction. Most of us feel that it is going to be painful, and the recovery would be long and problematic. However, the reality is different. In most cases, there would hardly be any pain at all – for the most part you would experience only mild discomfort – and the recovery time can be as short as two days! If you have your wisdom tooth extracted on Friday, you could be back at university or back at work by Monday.

Before you head on down for your appointment, here are a few things you need to know about wisdom teeth and the extraction-aftercare process.

Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

Wisdom teeth are the last set of back molars to come through in your mouth and are placed in the corners right at the back of your jaws. Since they erupt much later than all your other teeth, it could end up causing several issues. If it does not have sufficient space to fit in, they could end up pressing up against the other teeth which will force them to go out of alignment as well. You may find that impacted wisdom teeth have a high chance of leading to bacteria traps in your mouth which would result in sensitive, swollen gums and tooth decay. Delaying a routine procedure like a wisdom tooth extraction could lead to great discomfort in the future. You could unnecessarily be putting your other teeth around the problem site at risk too.

The wisdom tooth removal procedure

At the consultation, which is the initial stage, we will inspect the problem site and take x-rays to determine how long the removal procedure would take and how long the recovery period would be.

If your wisdom tooth has erupted without any problems such as – impacting another tooth, has come through at an odd angle – the extraction would only take a couple of minutes. Although, if instead, the tooth is infected, is sitting at an angle and/or is impacted and the gum tissue needs to be cut away – the procedure would take much longer.

Once we extract the tooth, we would usually like to keep you under observation for 5 to 10 minutes so we can make sure that clotting has taken effect and the bleeding has stopped. Once we are satisfied with this and once you are feeling alright you could be on your way back home to get some much-needed rest.

The longest we would expect a patient to be in the chair for is 90 minutes – and that is if we are pulling out all four of your wisdom teeth. This includes the time for consent, numbing, the extraction and the initial recovery time. Of course, simpler extractions would be quicker, as would having to pull out fewer teeth.

Simple cases – that take only a short time in the chair, usually includes the following:

  • Erupted wisdom tooth
  • Wisdom tooth that is not affecting any other teeth
  • Wisdom tooth has come through at a standard angle

The more complex cases, could take longer if:

  • The teeth have become infected
  • The tooth is positioned at an angle
  • Wisdom tooth is impacted
  • Gum needs to be cut away

How long does pain after wisdom tooth extraction last and how long is recovery?

The answer to this can be infuriating, but it really does depend. Here are some of the different scenarios and potential recovery times.

  1. The tooth is not angled and there is no impaction. It has erupted without any interruptions or issues so the extraction for this case is going to be quick and our patients’ feedback suggests there is little to no pain afterwards for this type of procedure.
  2. A bit of a more complicated case is when the gum tissue needs to be cut away. This could lead to more swelling and discomfort. You will need to take a couple of days off work and mild painkillers to manage the pain.
  3. A crooked wisdom tooth that has come at an angle and is impacting another tooth will need much longer time to remove and a much longer healing time as well. You will experience mild discomfort in the following days, but regular painkillers should be enough to manage the pain. You would have to take some days off work, but if you are able to avoid talking too much and can avoid meetings you may even be able to get back much earlier!
  4. In some instances, the wisdom tooth will need to be extracted under general anaesthetic. For this, we will refer you to a surgeon who will conduct the procedure in a hospital. Typically, these will take longer to heal from and will cause a bit more swelling and soreness. Your surgeon will be able to give you a clearer picture of how the procedure takes place.

Most of us want to know how long it will take to heal from wisdom tooth removal procedures because we need to fit it in around work or uni commitments. If this is you, we strongly suggest that you do not delay the process and wait until the tooth hurts. Once the tooth is at this stage, it will inevitably result in an emergency extraction, and will not allow you to have a chance to schedule it around your other commitments.

Post procedure care

What to avoid after wisdom teeth removal

  • Refrain from smoking
  • Refrain from drinking alcohol
  • Refrain from strenuous exercise

How to aid the healing process

  • Keep hydrated – drink plenty of water
  • Rest well
  • Apply ice-pack to help with swelling
  • Gently soak and rinse your mouth with lukewarm, salty water

Chat to the friendly team at Fernvale Dental

Once we examine you and take some x-rays, we will be able to give you a clearer picture of how long it will take to heal from the wisdom tooth extraction. After we have a good understanding of the state of your teeth, we will b e able to plan the removal around any other commitments you may have. So do not delay the process until the pain sets in – give us a call to have a chat about your concerns today!