Wisdom tooth removal is a common procedure. Your third molars make an appearance when you’re in your late teens or early 20s. However, as our jaws get smaller through evolution, we have less room for these molars. Some people won’t have a problem, while others develop impacted wisdom teeth.
Impacted wisdom teeth almost always need to be removed, as they’ll cause issues with your smile and overall oral health if left intact. So what should you expect following a wisdom tooth extraction?
How Long is Wisdom Teeth Surgery?
The length of wisdom teeth surgery—also known as wisdom teeth extraction or third molar extraction—varies depending on several factors including, but not limited to:
- The complexity of the case
- Number of wisdom teeth being removed
- Position of the teeth
- A patient's individual response to the procedure
On average, the entire process usually takes around 45 minutes to an hour.
Our Alexandria, Virginia, Oral Surgeon Explains What to Expect Following Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Dr. Mojgan Mazhari of Alexandria Dental Health & Smile Studio explains the general procedure for wisdom teeth extraction.
After the procedure
“Some discomfort and swelling in the hours following your extraction are normal, and you may also taste some blood in your mouth,” she states in this article. “You can use an ice pack for the swelling as directed by your dentist, and your dentist or oral surgeon will also let you know how often you can take pain medication or over-the-counter medication.”
Following your procedure, plan on having someone else pick you up and drive you home. Now it’s time to rest. You should be able to return to your normal activities within two to three days, but in the meantime, give your body time to recover.
Activities to avoid
“Avoid eating hard foods or foods that are difficult to chew and only stick to soft foods for a few days following your procedure. It’s also a good idea to avoid alcohol, smoking, and caffeine, as these can all inhibit the healing process,” Dr. Mazhari says. “Spitting or using a straw should also be avoided, as these actions require suction in the mouth, which can dislodge the blood clots that are vital to the healing of your extraction site.”
Light exercise is acceptable, but intense exercise should wait a few days.
Symptoms to Watch for After Wisdom Teeth Surgery
“Complete healing of your extraction sites can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, as the bone in your jaw will modify to compensate for the loss of the teeth,” she adds. “In the meantime, take care of your smile and be aware of the signs of a potential infection, which can occur even weeks after your procedure.” An infection could also show signs such as white discharge in your oral cavity or additional swelling.
Also contact your dentist if you have a fever, constant pain even while medicated, or persistent numbness.