Wisdom tooth removal: 4 things you must know

Wisdom tooth removal is a surgical procedure that removes one or more wisdom teeth, which are the four permanent adult teeth located at the top and bottom back corners of your mouth.

Why it’s done

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last permanent teeth to emerge (appear) in the mouth. Between the ages of 17 and 25, these teeth usually appear. Some people do not get wisdom teeth. Others have wisdom teeth that erupt normally, just like their other molars, and cause no problems.

Many people have impacted wisdom teeth, which are teeth that do not have enough room to erupt or develop normally. Wisdom teeth that are impacted may erupt only partially or not at all.

Impacted wisdom teeth - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

An impacted wisdom tooth may:

  • Grow at an angle toward the next tooth (second molar)
  • Grow at an angle toward the back of the mouth
  • Grow at a right angle to the other teeth, as if the wisdom tooth is “lying down” within the jawbone
  • Grow straight up or down like other teeth but stay trapped within the jawbone

Problems with impacted wisdom teeth

Wisdom Tooth Removal Treatment In Port Moody, V3H 1Z1

You’ll likely need your impacted wisdom tooth removal if it results in problems such as:

  • Pain
  • Trapping food and debris behind the wisdom tooth
  • Infection or gum disease (periodontal disease)
  • Tooth decay in a partially erupted wisdom tooth
  • Damage to a nearby tooth or surrounding bone
  • Development of a fluid-filled sac (cyst) around the wisdom tooth
  • Complications with orthodontic treatments to straighten other teeth

Preventing future dental problems

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

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

  • Symptom-free wisdom teeth 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 teeth 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 teeth 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 teeth, 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 teeth 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 removal

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 removal
Wisdom tooth removal

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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