Back 23 February 2018

What to Expect When Removing Wisdom Teeth

You may hear stories about other people getting wisdom teeth removed, but most people don’t know the surgical process until they themselves have problems with their wisdom teeth. If you’re in this boat, or you want to know what to expect for future reference, keep on reading. We’ll explain what to expect when getting wisdom teeth removed and how to take care of them afterwards.

Before Getting Wisdom Teeth Removed

Most likely you’ll know when you need to get your wisdom teeth removed. Symptoms include red or swollen gums, tender or bleeding gyms, jaw pain, swelling around the jaw, bad breath, and an unpleasant taste in your mouth and sometimes food impaction/getting stuck. If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, you’ve probably already booked a visit to the dentist.

Wisdom teeth need to be removed if they’re impacted, if they come in at the wrong angle, if your mouth isn’t big enough for the additional teeth, or if the wisdom tooth is dacayed or its position is likely to cause decay in the 2nd molar in front of it. Your dentist will tell you the reason for removing them, and you will be allowed to ask questions and discuss options. One decision to make before removing wisdom teeth is the type of anaesthesia you want during the surgery: local, IV sedation, or general.

Your dentist will also ask if you are taking any medication regularly and the history of your health. You will receive some forms to sign and depending on the compexity of your procedure and anaesthetic option you may be asked to bring a ‘caregiver’ with you on the day of the surgery, so they can assist you afterwards. Most people are still woozy from the drugs and can’t drive themselves home, so this person will need to be available to help care for you. You will also most likely need to take a few days off work too, this again depends on your procedure. 

Consult your dentist to have explained the recognised complications of wisdom tooth removal.

The Removal Process

The surgery should take approximately 45 minutes or less. Your dentist may need make a nick in your gum gum or even remove bone to get the wisdom tooth out, especially if it is impacted. Often stiches are placed to help close the wound and these are often disolving sutures. Gauze packs are also placed in the wound to act as a pressure pad to help clotting - These are often removed by you 45 minutes to an hour after your procedure.

After Getting Wisdom Teeth Removed

Everyone responds differently to surgery, but you should expect some pain and swelling and discomfort for several days. Your mouth may take a few weeks to heal completely, and you can help by using an ice pack to reduce swelling, eating soft foods like soup or pasta, drinking plenty of water, and gently brushing your teeth only after the second day (avoiding any blood clots). You should avoid drinking through a straw, as sucking may loosen blood clots that help your mouth heal, and avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. Avoid any vigorous activity for 24 hours post removal as elevating your blood pressure can cause the blood clot in the wound to break down causing bleeding. If this happens apply pressure on the wound with the gauze provided by your dentist or by using a rolled up squaure of clean cotton (like a hankerchief) 


Getting wisdom teeth removed may sound a bit intimidating, but it’s a very safe and streamlined process. If you need to get your wisdom teeth removed, it’s better to do it sooner rather than later. If you are experiencing symptoms of unhappy wisdom teeth, give us a call to discuss your options. Our dental clinic offers wisdom teeth removal, tooth whitening, and other dental services.