Wisdom teeth, also referred to as the “third molars,” develop in your late teens or early twenties. Sometimes they come into your mouth normally, but often they get stuck beneath your gums, or come in at the wrong angle, causing problems. Because of this, many people end up having their wisdom teeth removed.
If your general dentist has recommended that you have your wisdom teeth removed, or “extracted,” you may be wondering how long the procedure will take. Here’s what to expect.
Average Length of the Wisdom Teeth Removal Process
The length of wisdom teeth extraction varies greatly depending on the situation. The procedure can take anywhere from 1 hour to 3 hours in some cases. Each patient’s experience will be different based upon their individual needs.
Factors That Affect the Length of the Procedure
There are many factors that affect the length of the wisdom teeth removal process:
- Patient age. For patients older than their late teens or early twenties, the wisdom teeth extraction procedure is often more lengthy as the teeth roots are longer and are more likely to have fused to the underlying bone, requiring a more surgical removal.
- Impacted wisdom teeth. If some or all of the wisdom teeth are still under the gums, or “impacted,” they may be pushed against other teeth, or buried in bone, making the removal process take longer.
- Anesthesia. The type of anesthesia used will affect the total length of the procedure because time may need to be allotted for anesthesia to take effect and to wear off. The deeper the level of sedation, the longer the recovery period may be.
What Type of Anesthesia is Used For Wisdom Teeth Removal?
The type of anesthesia used will depend upon the situation. There are a few different types of anesthesia used for wisdom teeth removal:
- Local anesthesia. Some patients may choose to have, and be able to have, their wisdom teeth removed with only local anesthesia to numb the area.
- Conscious oral sedation. In some cases, patients may supplement their local anesthesia with conscious oral sedation in order to provide a calm and relaxed feeling during the procedure.
- IV sedation. Other patients may either choose to have or be recommended to have deeper IV sedation for removal of more complicated wisdom teeth, such as impacted teeth, that require more invasive surgery.
- Hospital-based general anesthesia. Some patients either with a significant underlying medical condition or with a heightened risk of difficulty breathing under sedation may be deemed poor candidates for office-based surgery and advised to instead have their teeth removed in the controlled environment of a hospital operating room.
Any of these anesthesia techniques may be used for your wisdom teeth removal. The ultimate goal is to make you as comfortable as possible while removing your teeth safely.
How Long Does Recovery Take?
Immediately following your wisdom teeth removal procedure, you may remain in the office for as little as 10 minutes to as long as an hour while you recover from whatever sedation anesthesia you were given. The deeper the level of sedation you were under, the longer you may need to remain in the office before going home. If you received any sedation, you must have someone drive you home after the procedure, as well as be able to monitor you for the rest of the day. Once you are home, you will need to follow your oral surgeon’s instructions as you recover. You’ll often experience facial swelling and limited chewing ability that lasts for 1 week after the procedure, and complete healing of the tissues can take a few weeks to over a month.
Who Should I See for Wisdom Teeth Removal?
When it comes to getting your wisdom teeth removed, an oral surgeon is the right specialist for the procedure. Manchester Oral Surgery provides wisdom teeth removal in a safe and professional environment. We are highly qualified and experienced with wisdom teeth extraction, using advanced technology to promote faster recovery.