You would not find many people who look forward to a wisdom tooth extraction. Most of us have this idea stuck in our head that it is going to be painful, and the recovery would be long and problematic. Fortunately, the reality is different. In many cases, there would hardly be any pain at all – at most you would experience mild discomfort – and the recovery time can be as little as just two days! So, if you have your wisdom tooth extracted on a Friday, you could be back at work or back in Uni by Monday.
Take a closer look at wisdom teeth and what you can expect after they have been removed.
Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Wisdom teeth are the back molars and the last set of teeth to come through. Because they erupt much later than all your other teeth, around your early twenties, they have been known to end up causing a few issues. If there is not enough space for them, they could end up pressing against other teeth and push them out of alignment and even become traps for germs and bacteria. If these issues are not attended to in a timely fashion, it may not only be your wisdom in need of extraction.
The wisdom tooth removal procedure
At the initial consult, your dentist will inspect the problem tooth and take x-rays. From this examination, we can typically determine how long the extraction procedure will take and how long the healing period will roughly be.
For example, if your wisdom tooth has erupted and is not impacting on the adjacent tooth or come through at an odd angle, the extraction may only take a few minutes. However, if the tooth has become infected, it’s sitting at an angle, it’s impacted or gum tissue needs to be cut away, the procedure can take longer.
Once the tooth is pulled out, we generally like you to stay sitting in the chair for 5 – 10 minutes to make sure clotting has taken effect, the bleeding has ceased, and you are feeling alright.
90 minutes is the longest we would expect anyone to be in the chair for – if we’re pulling out all four wisdom teeth, and this time includes consent, numbing, the procedure and then the initial recovery time. Simple extractions will be quicker, as would the removal of less teeth.
Simple wisdom tooth extractions, which should only take a short period of time in the chair, often include the following;
- Wisdom tooth has erupted
- Wisdom tooth is not affecting other teeth
- Wisdom tooth has come through at a normal angle without being impacted
The process could take longer if:
- Teeth have become infected
- Wisdom tooth is positioned at an angle
- Wisdom tooth is impacted
- Gum tissue has to be cut away for extraction
How long does pain after wisdom tooth extraction last and how long is recovery?
The reply can be frustrating, but it really varies. Let us look at some issues and potential recovery times.
- The tooth has erupted, it is not angled and there is no impaction. The extraction for this case is very quick and there is often little to no pain afterwards. In fact, some patients do not even require pain killers, and can be back at work the very next day.
- A somewhat more complicated case, perhaps involving cutting into gum tissue, could lead to more swelling and mild discomfort. You will perhaps need a couple of days off work and mild painkillers.
- A crooked wisdom tooth will require a longer extraction and a longer restorative time. There will probably be some mild discomfort in the following days but nothing that regular painkillers cannot control. You may have to take some days off work, but if you can avoid meetings and too much talking then you can even go back earlier.
- In some cases, the wisdom tooth will need to be pulled out under general anesthesia. For these extractions, we refer you to a surgeon who will do the procedure at a hospital. Typically, these removals take longer to heal from and produce quite a bit more swelling. Your surgeon will be able to give you a more precise picture of your healing time.
Most people want to know how long it takes to heal from wisdom tooth removal because they must fit it in around work and/or university commitments. If this is you, we strongly advise that you do NOT wait until the tooth hurts. Once you reach this stage, it will inevitably become an emergency extraction, and you have no chance of scheduling it around your other responsibilities.
Post procedure care
What to avoid after wisdom teeth removal
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid drinking alcohol
- Avoid strenuous exercise
How to aid the healing process
- Drink a lot of water
- Plenty of rest
- Use ice packs to ease discomfort
- Gently rinse your mouth with warm, salty water to reduce irritation
Chat to the friendly team at Plainland Dental
We can only give you a precise picture of how long it will take you to heal from wisdom tooth removal once we assess you and take some x-rays. After we get a good sense of the condition of your teeth, we can plan the extraction around whatever other commitments you may have. So do not wait till the pain sets in – give our friendly team a call now.
Related article: Wisdom Tooth Pain: Symptoms, Treatment and Relief