Wisdom Tooth Extraction: When do You Need to Do Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

Your dentist has advised you to do wisdom tooth extraction. But, you say, they don’t hurt, so why take them out?

Wisdom tooth, which are the third molars in the back of your mouth, may not need to be extracted if they are:

  • Healthy
  • Grown in completely (fully erupted)
  • Positioned correctly and biting properly with their opposing teeth
  • Able to be cleaned as part of daily oral hygiene practices

Still, just because your wisdom tooth isn’t bothering you doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong with them. The teeth could be impacted or stuck. That means they won’t be able to get past your jaw and into your mouth. Perhaps your mouth is too small to accommodate them, or the teeth are growing at an angle to other teeth. If they push up against the tooth next door, they risk damaging it.

Some dentists extract healthy molars to avoid future problems. The bones in your mouth become harder as you age. This makes it more difficult to remove your teeth.

If you wait, you may experience complications after surgery ranging from heavy bleeding and fractured teeth to severe numbness and minor loss of jaw movement. These difficulties could last for a few days or a lifetime.

When Is Removal Needed?


When wisdom tooth cause problems or X-rays show they may be on the way, they must be extracted. Other compelling reasons to remove them include:

  • Damage to other teeth: That extra set of molars can jostle your other teeth, causing pain and bite issues.
  • Jaw damage: Cysts can form around the new teeth. If they aren’t treated, they can hollow out your jaw and damage nerves.
  • Sinus Issues: Problems with wisdom tooth can lead to sinus pain, pressure, and congestion.
  • Inflamed Gums: Tissue around the area can swell and may be hard to clean.
  • Tooth decay: Swollen gums can create pockets between teeth that allow bacteria to grow and tooth decay form.
  • Alignment: Impacted wisdom tooth can cause crowding of other teeth and even necessitate treatment to straighten other teeth.

To make a decision, your dentist will examine the shape of your mouth and the position of your teeth. Your age also plays a role, too.

Preventing future dental problems

Wisdom tooth extraction
Wisdom tooth extraction

Dental experts disagree on the value of removing impacted wisdom tooth that aren’t causing problems (asymptomatic).

Future problems with impacted wisdom tooth are difficult to predict. However, here is the reasoning behind preventive extraction:

  • Symptom-free wisdom tooth could still harbor disease.
  • If there isn’t enough space for the tooth to erupt, it’s often hard to get to it and clean it properly.
  • Serious complications with wisdom tooh happen less often in younger adults.
  • Older adults may experience difficulty with surgery and complications after surgery.


Most wisdom tooth removals don’t result in long-term complications. However, removal of impacted wisdom tooth occasionally requires a surgical approach that involves making an incision in the gum tissue and removing bone. Rarely, complications can include:

  • Painful dry socket, or exposure of bone when the post-surgical blood clot is lost from the site of the surgical wound (socket)

Dry Socket: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

  • Infection in the socket from bacteria or trapped food particles
  • Damage to nearby teeth, nerves, jawbone or sinuses

Wisdom tooth removal can be carried out by a dentist or a specialist surgeon working in a hospital.

If your dentist recommends removing your wisdom tooth, they’ll take an X-ray of your mouth to help them determine who should carry out the procedure.

Any charges and payment methods should be discussed before the procedure begins. Read more about BeDental’s price list.


Before your wisdom tooth are extracted, you will be given a local anesthetic injection to numb the tooth and surrounding area.

If you are extremely nervous about the procedure, your dentist or surgeon may administer a sedative to help you relax. This is usually accomplished through an injection into your arm.

A general anesthetic is rarely required for wisdom tooth removal. It is only used on rare occasions when the procedure is performed in a hospital. In this case, however, you should be able to go home the same day as the procedure.

Wisdom tooth extraction

If the tooth has not broken through the gum, a small cut (incision) in the gum will be made to gain access to it. A small portion of the bone that surrounds the tooth may also need to be removed.

To make it easier to remove the tooth through the opening, it can be cut into smaller pieces. If the tooth has broken through the gum, there is less need for an incision.

Wisdom tooth extraction
Wisdom tooth extraction

You may feel some pressure just before the tooth is extracted because your dentist or oral surgeon will need to widen the tooth socket by rocking the tooth back and forth before extracting it.

Because the area will be numb, you should not feel any pain as your wisdom teeth are extracted. However, if you experience pain during the procedure, notify your dentist or oral surgeon so that more anesthetic can be administered.

The time it takes to remove the tooth varies. Simple procedures can take a few minutes, but more complicated procedures can take up to 20 minutes.

After surgery

If an incision is made, dissolving stitches are used to close the wound. Your dentist will tell you how long it will take for the stitches to dissolve (usually 7 to 10 days).

Your dentist may apply gauze to the extraction site and instruct you to apply pressure to it by biting your jaws together for up to an hour. This is done to allow for the formation of a blood clot in the empty tooth socket. Blood clots are a normal part of the healing process, so avoid dislodging them.

In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed if you have an ongoing infection.

Everyone responds differently to anesthesia. If you had a local anesthetic and feel alert, you might be able to drive home to begin your recovery. You might even be able to go back to work or do your normal activities. If you have general anesthesia or still feel drowsy, you’ll need someone to drive you home.

Most people experience little to no pain following surgery. For the next three days or so, you will most likely experience swelling and mild discomfort. It may take several weeks for your mouth to heal completely.

Follow your doctor’s instructions for a quicker recovery. Here are some tips for the first 3 days after surgery:


  • Use an ice pack on your face to curb swelling or skin color changes.

How to apply ice when toothache | Vinmec

  • Use moist heat for a sore jaw.
  • Gently open and close your mouth to exercise your jaw.
  • Eat soft foods like pasta, rice, or soup.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Brush your teeth starting the second day. Don’t brush against any blood clots.
  • Take the drugs your doctor prescribes to ease pain or swelling.
  • Call your doctor if you have a fever, or if your pain or swelling doesn’t improve.


  • Don’t drink through a straw. Sucking may loosen blood clots that help your mouth heal.
  • Don’t rinse your mouth too harshly. Your doctor may suggest rinsing gently with saltwater.
  • Don’t eat hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that may scratch your wounds.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking can slow your healing.

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