Around 30-45 minutes
What is the treatment?
Sometimes, wisdom teeth that have become impacted or haven’t fully broken through the surface of the gum can cause dental problems and may need to be removed.
The wisdom teeth grow at the back of your gums and are the last teeth to come through. Most people have four wisdom teeth, one in each corner.
Wisdom teeth usually grow through the gums during the late teens or early twenties. By this time, the other 28 adult teeth are usually in place, so there isn’t always enough room in the mouth for the wisdom teeth to grow properly.
Because of the lack of space, wisdom teeth can sometimes emerge at an angle or get stuck and only partially emerge. Wisdom teeth that grow through like this are known as impacted.
You should make an appointment to see your dentist if your wisdom teeth are causing severe pain. They’ll check your teeth and advise you whether they need to be removed at which point you may be referred to South Down Clinic, where we will assess you, plan and complete treatment as required.
We operate on a dentist referral basis only.
Please speak to your dentist about getting referred to this clinic.
How long does it take?
It takes anything from a few minutes to 30 minutes, or sometimes even longer, to remove a wisdom tooth.view prices
How much does it cost?
The following prices are a guide only and exclude any additional fees for consultation, Xrays and CT scanning, sedation (if required). View our full price list.
On the day of surgery
You’ll usually be given a local anaesthetic injection to numb the area around the tooth.
You’ll feel some pressure just before the tooth is removed, as your dentist or oral surgeon needs to widen the tooth socket by rocking the tooth back and forth.
A small cut in the gum is sometimes necessary, and the tooth may need to be cut into smaller pieces before it’s removed.
If an incision has been made, dissolving stitches are used to seal the gum. Your dentist will tell you how long the stitches take to dissolve (usually 7 to 10 days).
Your dentist may place gauze over the site of the extraction and ask you to keep the pressure on it by biting your jaws together for up to an hour. This is to allow a blood clot to form in the empty tooth socket. Blood clots are part of the healing process, so try not to dislodge them.
In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed if you have an ongoing infection.
It can take up to 2 weeks to fully recover after having your wisdom teeth removed.
During this time, you may have:
- A swollen mouth and cheeks – this will be worse for the first few days but will gradually improve; gently pressing a cold cloth to your face helps reduce the swelling
- Some mild visible bruising of your cheek
- The skin may be bruised for up to 2 weeks
- A stiff, sore jaw – this should wear off within 7 to 10 days
- Pain – this is worse if the extraction was difficult or complicated
- An unpleasant taste in your mouth
- Tingling or numbness of your face, lips or tongue (although this is uncommon)
Report any excess bleeding, severe pain or any other unusual symptoms immediately.
To reduce pain and aid your recovery, it can be helpful to:
- Use painkillers such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen
- Avoid strenuous activity and exercise for a few days
- Use an extra pillow to support your head at night
- For 24 hours, avoid rinsing, spitting, hot drinks or anything else that may dislodge the blood clots that form in the empty tooth socket (they help the healing process)
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol for 24 hours
- Eat soft or liquid food for a few days and chew with your other teeth
- Gently rinse the extraction site with an antiseptic mouthwash after 24 hours, and repeat this regularly over the next few days, particularly after eating
- You can drive immediately after the procedure if local anaesthetic was used, but you should avoid driving for at least 24 hours if a sedative was used, or 48 hours if the procedure was carried out under general anaesthetic.
As with all surgery, there are risks associated with removing a wisdom tooth. These include infection or delayed healing, both of which are more likely if you smoke during your recovery.
Another possible complication is “dry socket”, which is a dull, aching sensation in your gum or jaw, and sometimes a bad smell or taste coming from the empty tooth socket. Dry socket is more likely if you don’t follow the after-care instructions given by your dentist.
There’s also a small risk of nerve damage, which can cause a tingling or numb sensation in your tongue, lower lip, chin, teeth and gums. This is usually temporary, but in rare cases, it can be permanent.