How Long Does a Wisdom Tooth Extraction Take?
Let’s answer the question: how long does a wisdom tooth extraction take? Wisdom tooth extractions can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. The duration of the procedure depends on several factors, including whether you have other teeth extracted at the same time and how difficult it is to remove your specific wisdom teeth.
Typically, a dentist will begin by numbing the area around your wisdom teeth with an anesthetic that may include local or regional anesthesia. This can take between 15 and 20 minutes, depending on the area of your mouth that is being treated.
Next, your dentist or oral surgeon will use special tools to remove your wisdom teeth from their sockets in your gums. This process may take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how difficult it is to remove your wisdom teeth.
After your dentist has removed all or most of your wisdom teeth, they will typically pack the area with gauze to help stop any bleeding. This can take up to 10 minutes, depending on how much blood flow is coming from the extraction site.
Simple Procedure vs. Complicated Surgery
How long does a wisdom tooth extraction take? Having your wisdom tooth removed is typically a simple procedure. However, sometimes they require more complicated oral surgery. These surgeries can take several hours to complete due to the need for additional preparation, sedation, and surgical instruments.
In addition, some wisdom teeth may be impacted (stuck in your jawbone), which is another reason why extraction can take longer. Usually, these teeth must be cut into smaller pieces to remove them without damaging surrounding tissue. Removing an impacted wisdom tooth can take up to two hours.
How Long Does It Take to Have All 4 Wisdom Teeth Removed?
If you have all four wisdom teeth removed, it can take up to three hours. Again, it will depend on how many extractions your dentist or oral surgeon needs to perform, as well as how difficult it is to remove each tooth.
It’s important that you ask your dentist how long they expect the procedure to take before you commit to having all four wisdom teeth extracted at once. This can help prevent any surprises if your procedure takes longer than anticipated.
Preparation and Recovery Time
In addition to the length of the procedure, you’ll also need to consider how much time you’ll spend preparing for and recovering from your molar extraction.
As mentioned above, you’ll likely need a local or regional anesthetic before having your wisdom teeth removed. This will take between 15 and 20 minutes. After the area is numb, it may take several hours for it to completely wear off, depending on which type of anesthesia was used.
While the effects of anesthetic typically wear off within a few hours, some people experience lingering symptoms that can last up to 24 hours after their procedure. You may have a sore throat and/or feel nauseous or drowsy afterward as well due to the anesthetic.
It will also take time for the bleeding to completely stop following your procedure. You may also experience some pain and swelling in your gums, cheeks and/or jaw from having your wisdom teeth removed. Most people recover from these side effects within a few days, but it can take up to a week for them to subside completely.
In rare cases, you may develop a condition called dry socket after your wisdom teeth extraction. This happens when the blood clot in your gums is lost or falls out before it has a chance to heal, exposing your nerve and/or bone tissue.
Symptoms of dry socket include pain that increases as the day goes on, a bad taste in your mouth and intense earaches. You’ll also notice an unpleasant odor coming from your mouth.
Dry socket can occur anytime within several days after having your wisdom teeth removed, but it occurs most often 3-5 days afterward. It requires treatment with a special medicated dressing in order to heal.
What to Do After a Wisdom Tooth Removal
Now you know the answer to “how long does a wisdom tooth extraction take” and some of the factors that can influence this length. If you have your wisdom teeth removed, it’s important to follow your dentist or oral surgeon’s aftercare instructions carefully to help promote a fast and complete recovery.
- You’ll likely need to stay on soft foods for several days as you heal, but you should be able to resume normal eating within 1-2 weeks.
- Brush your teeth gently with a soft toothbrush.
- Rinse your mouth with salt water or an over-the-counter antiseptic mouthwash.
- You can go back to normal activities within a few days, but it’s best to avoid strenuous exercise and other activities that could put pressure on your jaw for at least 2 weeks after getting your wisdom teeth removed.
- Use ice packs as needed to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Make an appointment with your dentist or oral surgeon if you experience any symptoms that concern you, such as bleeding or swelling in your gums.
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