Wisdom Teeth Removal – What Adults Should Expect

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Wisdom teeth may become impacted and require extraction in order to avoid cysts, infections, crookedness or crowding of adjacent teeth. A dentist or oral surgeon will typically administer local anesthetic and sedation when extracting wisdom teeth.

Surgery itself may be quick, but recovery often takes several days. Swelling, bruising and pain may occur after surgery so it is crucial that you follow any instructions given by your dentist or oral surgeon post-surgery.


On the day of surgery, someone should accompany and stay with you for several days afterwards. Ice packs and pain medication may help reduce swelling and discomfort afterward.

Dentists or oral surgeons will use local anesthesia to numb the area where your tooth will be extracted, or may provide more complex extractions with general anesthesia for more complex extractions.

Your dentist will create a small incision in your gums in order to expose the wisdom teeth, which they will then break apart and extract before cleaning the area and stitching it back up afterwards.

Following surgery, it is essential to consume soft foods for several days postoperatively. Avoid anything crunchy or chewy as these may cause discomfort. Carbonated beverages and alcohol should also be avoided since these may dislodge blood clots, potentially leading to dry sockets; instead drink lots of water and other non-alcoholic beverages instead.


Wisdom teeth often cause problems for people due to being too big for most mouths, leading to pain, swelling and infection. Removing them makes cleaning up after them much simpler.

Your oral surgeon will use local anesthesia to numb the area around your wisdom tooth(s). While you will remain conscious and aware of what’s happening during the procedure, no pain or discomfort should arise from it.

Sedation anesthesia, administered either via inhalation or IV injection, will put you into a “twilight sleep” state during surgery and help you forget it altogether. Sedation also reduces anxiety levels while making you drowsy; thus making the experience less frightening for patients who fear surgery. However, since you will become too sleepy to drive home after the procedure has concluded.


Surgery will be conducted under local anesthesia, laughing gas (nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia), or sedation as necessary to ensure you experience no discomfort during or postoperative swelling and discomfort.

Your oral surgeon will make an incision in gum tissue around the site of extraction to expose both tooth and bone. They then extract both, extract any necessary bone fragments as necessary and clean up afterwards. Stitches may be placed to close up the incision but this is often unnecessary; sometimes gauze pads will also be placed over the tooth socket to control bleeding and help form a blood clot more quickly.

After wisdom teeth extraction, it is recommended to avoid hard, crunchy or chewy foods as well as alcohol, caffeinated beverages or carbonated beverages for 24 hours post procedure. You should ice tender areas and take pain management medications as directed. It would also be a good idea to arrange child or pet care prior to your appointment and arrange transportation home post procedure, given you will likely feel groggy from anesthesia.


Your dentist or oral surgeon will apply gentle pressure to widen the socket of a tooth before extracting it, without experiencing pain. With general anesthesia, however, you could sleep through the procedure, though if that is chosen you’ll require someone else to drive you home afterwards.

After your wisdom teeth removal procedure, swelling is a normal and expected reaction that typically peaks 2-3 days post-surgery. Swelling can be reduced quickly with cold packs applied directly to your face and mouth as soon as the procedure has ended. Salt water (or an approved oral rinse) rinses may also help. To reduce inflammation in your mouth from beginning 24 hours post surgery can help.

Brushing and flossing are OK, but be careful with your surgical site. We suggest avoiding foods requiring chewing for at least a week post-surgery and not using straws which could dislodge blood clots leading to dry socket. If stitches were placed during surgery they will either dissolve naturally over time or require removal by your dentist or oral surgeon.