Are you thinking of having your wisdom tooth pulled out? Most of us have this notion stuck in our head that it is going to be an agonizing ordeal, and that the recovery too would be slow and inconvenient. Luckily, the reality is quite different. In a lot of cases, there will hardly be any pain at all – at most mild discomfort – and the recuperation time only lasts a few days! If you have your wisdom tooth pulled out on a Friday, you could be back at work or back in Uni by Monday.
Let us take a closer look at wisdom teeth and what you can anticipate after they have been extracted.
Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Wisdom teeth are positioned right at the back of your jaw, one for each corner of the mouth, and are the last set of back molars to emerge. This type of teeth has been known to cause some issues. If they do not have adequate space to fit in your mouth they could press up against the other teeth as they grow and throw the correctly positioned teeth out of whack. If your wisdom teeth end up moving your other teeth and jawline out of alignment, it could cause tooth decay due to bacteria traps, discomfort while performing regular activities such as brushing your teeth or chewing food etc., Overlooking the warning signs can cause greater trouble in the future. You may end up losing not only your wisdom tooth but also the molar next to it!
The wisdom tooth removal procedure
Firstly, there will be an initial consult, which consists of your dentist’s initial inspection of the problem tooth and taking x-rays. These will then help determine the time needed for the removal of the tooth and how long the recuperation time will roughly be, depending on your individual case.
For instance, if the wisdom tooth has erupted without impacting any other tooth and has not come through at an angle, the extraction would only take a few minutes to complete. The procedure could take longer however, if the tooth is infected, is sitting at an angle and is impacted, or if the gum tissue needs to be cut away.
We usually prefer you to stay sitting in the chair for 5-10 minutes after the tooth is removed, to ensure that clotting has taken effect, the bleeding has stopped and you’re feeling okay.
The maximum time we would expect anyone to be in the chair for if we are extracting all four wisdom teeth, is 90 minutes. This is inclusive of consent, numbing, the procedure and the initial recovery time. Simpler extraction with fewer teeth to be extracted would be quicker.
Simple wisdom tooth extractions, that only take a short period of time in the chair, normally include some of the following:
- Tooth has erupted
- It is not affecting any other teeth
- Has come through at a normal angle without impacting other teeth
The more complicated procedures, that would take longer include:
- Wisdom teeth that have become infected
- Wisdom teeth that have positioned themselves at an angle
- Wisdom teeth that are impacted
- If the gum tissue needs to be cut away for the extraction
How long does pain after wisdom tooth extraction last and how long is recovery?
The answer can be frustrating, but it depends on a variety of scenarios.
- The tooth has erupted without being angled and there is no impaction. The removal for this case should be very quick ad there is often little to no pain following the procedure. Some patients do not even need pain killers and are able to go back to work the very next day.
- A more complex case, perhaps involving cutting into gum tissue, will lead to more swelling and mild discomfort. This will require for you to take time off work and rest for a couple of days before going back in.
- A crooked wisdom tooth will need more time for extraction and a longer recovery time. Regular painkillers should be able to help you handle the mild discomfort following such a procedure. You would have to take several days off work, but if you can avoid meetings and too much talking, then you could return earlier.
- We will refer you to a surgeon who will extract your wisdom tooth at a hospital if general anaesthetic is required. Generally, these procedures take longer to heal from and results in quite a bit more swelling. Your surgeon will advise you and provide an accurate picture of your recovery time depending on your case.
Most people are concerned about how long it takes to heal from a wisdom tooth extraction because they need to fit it in around other commitments like university or work. If this is you, we strongly recommend that you do not delay the process and come to us before your tooth starts hurting. Once you have reached this stage, we refer to it as an emergency extraction, and you will not be able to schedule it around your other plans.
Post procedure care
What to avoid after wisdom teeth removal
- Don’t Smoke
- Don’t Drink alcohol
- Don’t do any strenuous exercise
How to aid the healing process
- Keep medications and plenty of water to drink within your reach
- Rest well
- Apply ice-packs to help with soreness and swelling
- Rinse your mouth gently with salty, lukewarm water
Chat to the friendly team at Polished Dental
We can only give you a clearer idea of how long it is going to take for you to heal from the wisdom tooth removal once we examine you and take some x-rays. Once we have a good idea of the condition of your teeth, we will plan the procedure around any other commitments you have. Our only request is that you do not delay the process until it is too late – if you wait until the pain sets in, we cannot promise to work around your other plans. Give our friendly team a call now to discuss your options.