Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to emerge in a young adult’s mouth. They often cause issues when they erupt, causing your other teeth to shift. This creates aesthetic and oral health problems that can be avoided with wisdom teeth removal.
If you think you need your wisdom teeth removed and wonder how long does wisdom teeth removal take, learn about wisdom teeth removal to find out. The duration of the procedure itself is dependent on what kind of removal is necessary. The healing time also varies from patient to patient.
Why Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
When a wisdom tooth grows underneath other molars or in the wrong direction, never breaking the gum line, this is called impaction. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause the following problems:
- Gum infection
When an impacted wisdom tooth only partially breaks through the gums encasing it, the gums are at an increased risk of infection. The space between the gums and the partially exposed wisdom tooth traps bacteria. Symptoms of a wisdom tooth-induced gum infection include swollen gum tissue and pain in the back of the oral cavity.
- Wisdom tooth decay
Impacted wisdom teeth are hard to clean because they are at the back of your mouth and the gums either partially or fully cover them. Since you cannot adequately clean wisdom teeth, they are at a heightened risk for decay. Tooth decay causes cavities and gum disease.
- Jaw stiffness and tooth movement
Wisdom teeth can push against your other molars causing the teeth in your mouth to move. This results in pain, jaw stiffness, and increased potential for tooth decay in affected teeth. The movement compacts your teeth which makes it harder to brush and floss, resulting in a buildup of plaque and tartar.
- Headaches and sinus issues
Upper wisdom teeth can potentially cause sinus issues. The sinuses are located just above and behind the top wisdom teeth. When a wisdom tooth’s root impacts the sinuses, sinus pain and headaches result.
How Long Does Wisdom Teeth Removal Take: Complex vs. Simple Removal
A wisdom teeth removal procedure can be simple or complex. Simple removal occurs when the wisdom tooth is not impacted and protrudes into the mouth. A complex removal takes more time and comes with a longer recovery because the tooth is not visible in the mouth.
When you ask your dentist how long does wisdom teeth removal take, they will evaluate whether they need to perform a simple or complex removal.
- Simple wisdom tooth removal procedure
No incisions are necessary for simple removal because wisdom teeth are fully visible in your mouth. Your dentist uses a local anaesthetic to numb the site and then use the elevator tool to loosen the tooth. The dentist then easily removes it.
A simple wisdom tooth removal procedure is relatively fast and only takes a few minutes. You may feel some pressure and discomfort in the numbed area. On rare occasions, complications arise that cause the procedure to transition into a complex removal. For instance, if the tooth breaks during extraction the removal becomes complex. A complex wisdom tooth removal is a procedure that requires modification of tissue or tooth.
- Complex wisdom tooth removal procedure
A complex removal increases the time the procedure takes. This is because your dentist or oral surgeon must first cut into the gums encasing an impacted wisdom tooth. Then, depending on the size of the tooth, they cut the tooth into segments to safely remove it. Once all segments are removed, your dentist cleans the area and stitches the gums back together with dissolvable stitches.
Complex wisdom tooth extraction takes around 45 minutes per tooth and usually involves general anaesthesia. The process can be further complicated by wisdom teeth entanglement with nerves or near the jawbone. That’s why your dentist strives to remove wisdom teeth before the roots become too long, reducing the risk of nerve damage.
Recovery Time and Tips
Wisdom tooth removal recovery time varies from patient to patient but on average it takes 10 days for all discomfort to subside. The recovery timeline is broken up into the first 24 hours after the surgery, the rest of the first week, and the second week after the procedure.
- The first 24 hours
Immediately after a simple wisdom tooth removal, you may be comfortable with returning to work because the procedure only required a local anaesthetic. If you had a complex extraction under general anaesthesia, you’ll need to have an adult drive you home and supervise you for the first 24 hours.
Liquid food like soup and smoothies are easy to consume after the procedure but do not use a straw because the sucking motion can dislodge the blood clot at the extraction site, resulting in a secondary condition called dry socket. Your dentist will share post surgery instructions so that you can recover smoothly.
- The first week
Most people deal with discomfort during the first week after wisdom tooth removal, especially while eating. Choose soft options with nutritional value like avocados, yoghurt, scrambled eggs, and hummus.
Take care when brushing and flossing for the first recovery week because you can interfere with new tissue that is growing over the removal site. Salt water rinses are a non-intrusive way to clean the recovery site by disinfecting the incision. Simply dissolve ½ a teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water and swish it around in your mouth for 10 to 20 seconds. Don’t spit. Instead, let the solution fall out of your mouth to prevent dislodging the blood clot.
- After 10 days
After 10 days, the extraction site is typically healed enough for you to begin eating a more diverse diet. Avoid nuts and chips for a full two to eight weeks as they can become lodged in the empty socket. If you’re unsure about your dietary restrictions during this time, consult your dentist.
After 10 days, if there is still discomfort around the extraction site, contact your dentist because there may be a complication in the healing process like dry socket or an oral infection.
Wisdom Teeth Removal is a Two Week Commitment
You can expect to be affected by your wisdom teeth extraction for 10-14 days including the procedure day. The extent of the procedure itself is largely determined by your unique wisdom tooth placement. Ask your dentist how long does wisdom teeth removal take based on your specific situation to get the most accurate answer.
If you are experiencing wisdom teeth discomfort or are interested in preventative wisdom tooth removal, contact Toothsome today for an evaluation and learn the next steps.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Removing Wisdom Teeth