Skip to main content

When it comes to wisdom tooth removal, you might be curious about the finer details of the procedure. Understanding how wisdom tooth removal is performed is crucial to ensure a smooth experience and successful extraction. In this guide, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the process, helping you feel more at ease about this standard dental procedure.


A wisdom tooth extraction is a dental surgical procedure designed to eliminate one or all four permanent adult teeth, commonly called wisdom teeth. Conducted by your dentist or oral surgeon, this process begins with an incision in the gum tissue to unveil the tooth and bone. Subsequently, the obstructing bone is carefully removed to gain access to the tooth’s root, ensuring a successful wisdom tooth extraction. This well-practiced procedure removes wisdom teeth with minimal complications, ensuring your dental health and well-being.

Wisdom Tooth Removal Process

A wisdom tooth removal procedure is needed if it is impacted, or if it is causing you pain, an infection, or other dental issues.

What Happens Before Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

Before your wisdom tooth removal, your dentist or surgeon will administer a local anesthetic to numb the tooth and the surrounding area. For patients who experience extreme anxiety about the procedure, a sedative may also be offered, often administered through an arm injection. If you’re feeling apprehensive about your upcoming wisdom tooth removal, here are some valuable tips to help you relax and prepare for the procedure.

Initial Consultation and Examination

Before your wisdom tooth extraction, whether performed by your regular dentist or an oral surgeon, your journey begins with a pre-surgery appointment. During this visit, the surgeon will discuss your medical history, explain the surgical process, and answer any questions or concerns you might have. This preparatory appointment is crucial in ensuring a smooth wisdom tooth removal.

What Happens During Wisdom Tooth Removal?

A minor incision is created in the gum to reach the wisdom tooth if it hasn’t erupted fully. Sometimes, a portion of the bone covering the tooth might need to be removed. Additionally, the tooth could be divided into smaller sections for more manageable removal through the incision. This process ensures a successful and less invasive extraction.


For a wisdom tooth removal procedure, your oral surgeon or dentist will deliver sedative anesthesia through an IV line in your arm. This sedation will induce a state of reduced consciousness, so you won’t recall the details of the procedure and won’t feel any discomfort. In addition, a local anesthetic is used to ensure your gums are completely numb for a pain-free experience.

Extraction of the Wisdom Tooth

  • Makes a cut in the gingival tissue to reveal the tooth and bone.
  • Removes bone that is obstructing the tooth root’s access.
  • Divides the tooth into fragments if it is easier to remove it in pieces.
  • Removes the tooth.
  • Removes any material from the tooth or bone at the site of the extracted tooth.
  • Closure of the wound with stitches is done to aid in healing, albeit not always necessary.
  • Apply gauze to the extraction site to stop bleeding and promote blood clot formation.


Many dentists and oral surgeons recommend wisdom tooth extraction as a preventive measure, even when impacted teeth are not causing immediate problems. Understanding the long-term advantages of this procedure can provide insights into its benefits.

What Happens After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Anticipate swelling in your mouth and cheeks after the procedure. The swelling will be most pronounced during the initial days but should gradually diminish. Applying a cold compress to your face can help alleviate the swelling. You might notice slight bruising on your cheek, which may take up to two weeks for the skin to recover fully. You may also experience jaw stiffness and discomfort, which typically subsides within 7 to 10 days.

Pain Relief

Use pain relievers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol, adhering to your dentist’s instructions and the recommended dosage. Following wisdom teeth removal, ibuprofen may be the most effective pain reliever.


Bleeding should cease within two to three hours, but you might have blood-tinged saliva for up to 48 hours post-surgery. Your dentist or oral surgeon will give you gauze to bite down on. This assists in absorbing blood and promotes the formation of a blood clot. Typically, you can remove the gauze three to four hours after tooth extraction.


Your dentist will recommend using an ice pack to reduce swelling after a tooth extraction. Applying an ice pack to the outside of the surgical site can help alleviate swelling.

Cleaning your mouth

Your dentist will caution against mouth rinsing in the first 24 hours after surgery. Afterward, you should gently rinse with warm salt water (mixing 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water) 2-3 times daily for a week or as per your doctor’s recommendations.


Avoid mouthwash after tooth extraction as it can dislodge the blood clot. Also, refrain from brushing or rinsing your mouth within 24 hours after the procedure. Lastly, avoid spitting and sucking on the extraction site, as this can disrupt the blood clot and delay healing, potentially causing dry socket pain.


After your tooth extraction, stick to a soft diet for at least 24 hours and transition gradually to your regular diet. Begin with easily digestible options like applesauce, ice cream, yogurt, pudding, Jell-O, and other cold foods to help reduce swelling. Avoid chewy, crunchy, fried, hard, or sticky foods, as they can disrupt blood clots, irritate the surgical site, or break into pieces while chewing. This includes cookies, chips, crackers, popcorn, or nut-containing foods.


In the initial week or two post-surgery, sticking to water as your primary beverage is essential. Alcohol should be avoided since it can increase the risk of dry sockets. Fruit juices may cause inflammation in the extraction sites, while carbonated drinks like soda can disrupt the blood clot and lead to complications. Also, caffeinated and hot beverages such as coffee and tea can irritate the surgical sites, potentially delaying healing.


After your wisdom tooth removal, taking a break from physical activities for the initial 24 hours is recommended, regardless of the procedure’s simplicity or the number of teeth extracted. You can gradually reintroduce mild exercise, like stretching around five days after removing upper wisdom teeth. It’s advisable to wait approximately ten days before resuming more strenuous exercise for lower wisdom tooth extraction.


The sutures used after wisdom tooth removal will naturally dissolve over time and won’t require removal. However, it’s important to gently brush the suture area approximately 3-4 days post-surgery to prevent food from getting trapped. When a tooth is extracted, it leaves a socket in the bone, and it can take up to three months for this gum hole to fully close. If any remaining stitches need removal, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your dentist or oral surgeon.


Following wisdom teeth removal, your mouth becomes considerably more sensitive to infection. To avoid exacerbating this sensitivity, it’s strongly recommended to refrain from smoking for at least one to two weeks after the procedure.


How long does it take to remove 4 wisdom teeth?

Removing all four wisdom teeth typically takes around 40 to 90 minutes. Recovery from wisdom tooth extraction surgery can last up to two weeks.

Are you awake during wisdom teeth removal?

Yes, it is possible to remain fully awake during the extraction of your wisdom teeth, receiving only local anesthesia. The dentist will initially test your gum's sensitivity, and the procedure will commence if you feel any discomfort. If not, additional anesthesia will be administered until the area is completely numb.

Is wisdom teeth removal a painful process?

No, you should not feel pain when removing your wisdom teeth, as the area will be numb due to anesthesia. However, it's essential to communicate any discomfort to your dentist or oral surgeon so they can provide additional anesthetic if needed. The duration of the tooth removal procedure may vary.

What else do I need to know about wisdom tooth extraction besides the wisdom tooth removal process?

Besides understanding the process of wisdom tooth removal, it’s crucial to be aware of potential complications, aftercare instructions, and the risks involved in the procedure. Your oral surgeon or dentist will provide detailed information to ensure a smooth and safe experience.

Jacob Vayner at Esthetic Smile Dental Care has over 19 years of experience in dental implant surgery since 2011 and will help you get your smile back! Make an appointment with us to learn more about the risks of wisdom tooth removal. Reach out to Jacob Vayner at Esthetic Smile Dental Care.