If your wisdom teeth do not have enough space to erupt in your jaw, your dentist will probably tell you it’s time to have them extracted. You might need to have them removed one at a time, or if all four have erupted, your dentist might recommend one procedure to extract them at once. Wisdom tooth removal is a fairly efficient procedure, however, the number of teeth and the complexity of your procedure will determine how long it takes. Let’s consider ‘how long does wisdom teeth removal take’, and how long it might take you to recover.
Wisdom Teeth Removal: Why It’s Done
Your wisdom teeth are the third set of molars and the last teeth in your mouth to erupt. For most people, this happens in their late teens or early 20s. Even though yours might only erupt when you’re in your 20s, your dentist will be able to see them in an x-ray, and can often tell if they are going to be problematic.
So Why Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Done?
It’s not always a given that you’ll need to have your wisdom teeth extracted; sometimes they are not problematic and can be left alone. But in some patients, circumstances such as these might warrant their removal:
- Your mouth isn’t big enough and there isn’t enough space in your jaw to accommodate them
- They might be impacted and trapped under your gums or jawbone
- They erupt at the wrong angle and come into contact with your other teeth
- You have dental decay or gum disease.
Wisdom Tooth Removal: What To Expect
During Wisdom Teeth Removal
Wisdom tooth removal is done under an anaesthetic so you don’t need to worry about feeling pain and discomfort. Most wisdom tooth extractions can be done using local anaesthetic and are simple enough to be performed in your dentist’s chair.
Depending on how much of the tooth has erupted, your dentist might need to cut through your gum to get to the wisdom teeth. Your dentist will wiggle the tooth around in its socket to loosen it before using forceps to pull it out. While you won’t feel pain during the procedure, you will still feel the force as your dentist tugs on the tooth.
Once the wisdom teeth removal is complete, you will be given a piece of gauze to bite down onto to stop the bleeding, as well as post-operative care instructions to help you heal quickly.
So, how long does wisdom teeth removal take? For a simple, straightforward procedure, you can expect to be in the dentist’s chair for around 45 minutes. If you are having all four wisdom teeth removed or a more complex procedure, it will take longer.
After Wisdom Teeth Removal
Once the anaesthetic has worn off, you might experience some discomfort at the site but this should be mild and can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication. If your dentist had to make a big incision you may have a few stitches. They will either dissolve or you will be asked to visit your dentist to have them removed.
While you might notice a bit of light bleeding after your procedure, you should heal quite quickly. It usually takes 48 to 72 hours for a blood clot to form and you’ll be advised not to do any vigorous exercise so you don’t dislodge the blood clot. Some inflammation at the site can be expected in the days following your wisdom teeth removal but this will improve as the days pass. It usually takes three to five days for discomfort and swelling to subside noticeably. After around three to four weeks, your gum tissue should have healed fully.
In the first 24-hours after your wisdom tooth extraction, it’s best to eat on the other side of your mouth. You should choose foods that are soft and easy to chew like baked potatoes, oats and soup.
Your dentist will advise you not to drink through a straw and to avoid very hot and cold beverages so you do not dislodge the blood clot that forms at the site. You should also avoid touching the area with your fingers or tongue. You will be able to rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water but you should not brush the area with your toothbrush.
What If You Experience Pain Or Discomfort After Wisdom Tooth Removal?
In the event that you experience any of these side effects you must contact your dentist right away:
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Worsening pain or bleeding
- Very severe pain that doesn’t subside with pain medication
- Swelling that gets worse instead of better
- A persistent bad taste in your mouth
- Pus or discharge from the tooth socket
These are signs that you could have an infection that needs treatment.
If you are having a complex procedure, where your wisdom teeth are still in your jaw, or you are having a general anaesthetic to remove all four wisdom teeth at once, you should ask your dentist how long does wisdom teeth removal takes so you can plan appropriately.
To find out more about how long wisdom teeth removal takes and what you can expect during recovery please contact us: (03) 9626 9581.
Wisdom Teeth Removal: What Adults Should Expect
Wisdom tooth extraction