All you have to know about wisdom tooth extraction

Wisdom Tooth Extraction Overview

Wisdom teeth may not actually make us wiser but is an important dental milestone nonetheless. Wisdom teeth, referred to as third molars, are often the last to grow into the mouth. In some cases, it may be recommended by your dental professional to remove wisdom teeth. This may be the case if there is not enough room for it to grow in the mouth if it is stuck underneath the gums to prevent potential future problems, or if you are experiencing pain, infection, or other dental problems because of their existence. Wisdom teeth can be removed via a surgical procedure performed by your general dentist or a dental specialist such as an oral surgeon or periodontist.

Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

Dating back in time, our ancestor's diet was much different than most of our current diets. They typically survived on foods like meat, nuts, and hard berries, which required a larger jaw to hold more teeth to chew.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

For some people, wisdom teeth come into the mouth in perfect alignment and don’t cause any problems. However, wisdom teeth sometimes become impacted, meaning the tooth does not properly erupt into the mouth. They may be partially or fully stuck underneath the gums or jawbone. This can lead to several oral health issues, such as damaging neighboring teeth, tooth decay, gum disease, and infection.

Common Problems with Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to several oral issues. If the impacted wisdom tooth is impinging upon the adjacent tooth, this can lead to pain, damage, or increase the risk of infection in the area. It can even be hard to clean the impacted tooth, especially when partially erupted, resulting in a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Impacted wisdom teeth can also increase the risk of developing a fluid-filled sac known as a cyst.

How Long Does Wisdom Tooth Extraction Take?

Wisdom tooth extraction surgery can vary in length depending on the number of wisdom teeth removed and the position of the wisdom teeth. On average, the surgery may last around 45 minutes or less.

How Long Does Pain After Wisdom Tooth Extraction Last?

Some discomfort is normal following the extraction of wisdom teeth. However, it is often quickly fleeting. You may sometimes experience this discomfort for about one to three weeks. If experiencing severe pain, it is recommended to contact your dentist immediately.

When to Stop Using Gauze After Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

After having a wisdom tooth extracted, it is normal to experience some bleeding temporarily. Using gauze while applying slight pressure after the surgery can help stop the bleeding. Change out the gauze after approximately 30-45 minutes and discontinue use once the bleeding stops, often around 3 to 4 hours.

How to Stop Bleeding After Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

There are numerous aids that can help stop the bleeding after wisdom tooth extraction, including applying pressure with gauze, a warm tea bag, or ice cubes wrapped in a towel. It is also advisable to avoid using straws, smoking, and strenuous activity for the first few days after the surgery.

What to Eat After Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

Immediately after wisdom tooth extraction, soft foods should be consumed to avoid disrupting the extraction site. Foods like apple sauce, soups, broths, yogurt, mashed potatoes, oatmeal, cheese, eggs, bananas, avocados, and smoothies are great options after wisdom tooth extraction. For at least 24 hours after the extraction, you should avoid hard and crunchy foods, spicy foods, grains and seeds, and alcohol, which may irritate the extraction site and slow wound healing.

When Can I Eat Solid Food After Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

You can start eating solid foods approximately 24 hours after wisdom tooth extraction. It is still best to be careful in the area of the extraction site, as this site may take a couple of weeks to heal completely.

Dos and Don'ts After Wisdom Tooth Extraction


After wisdom tooth extraction, following all post-operative instructions from your dental professional is important. It is recommended to use gauze to help control bleeding after the extraction for approximately 30 to 45 minutes at a time. Be sure to drink lots of water and avoid using a straw. It is also helpful to rinse with warm salt water to help heal the area. Rest well and limit any strenuous activity for 24 hours after the surgery. In terms of your diet, consume soft foods for the next couple of days to avoid disrupting the site's healing. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol can help alleviate minor pain if needed. When brushing your teeth, do your best to be gentle and careful near the extraction site.


As mentioned, avoid using a straw, as the sucking motion can damage the healing process and increase your risk of developing a dry socket. The same is true for spitting, which can dislodge the natural formation of a blood clot during the healing process. It is also recommended to avoid consuming sugary, alcoholic, and acidic beverages immediately after the surgery. In terms of foods, avoid crunchy, spicy, and sticky foods that can get in the way of the site healing. Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco products, which can lead to other oral complications and delay healing.

Other Risks of Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Removing wisdom teeth rarely results in long-term issues. However, potential complications can include dry sockets, infection of the site, or damage to adjacent teeth, nerves, jawbone, or sinuses.

Procedure for the Extraction of Wisdom Tooth

What Type of Anesthesia is Used for Wisdom Tooth Removal?

Your dental professionals will determine the best type of anesthesia to use for wisdom tooth removal in your specific case, depending on the complexity of the surgery and your comfort level. Common types of anesthesia used for wisdom tooth removal include local anesthesia, sedation anesthesia, and general anesthesia.

Preparing for Surgery

To prepare for wisdom tooth extraction, be sure to ask your dental professionals any questions and inform them of your medical history and the current medications you are taking before surgery. Your dentist will instruct you on the expected eating and drinking instructions and transportation guidelines depending on the type of sedation used. You will also be advised to avoid smoking and alcohol use before surgery.

Ensure to Consult a Professional Dentist for Hassle-Free Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Wondering about your wisdom teeth? Make a consultation appointment with our Great Lakes Family Dental team for your dental needs, including wisdom teeth! Our team will determine if your wisdom teeth negatively impact your oral health and can provide you with all the information you need to go through this process.