What to Expect From a Wisdom Tooth Removal

Tooth extraction concept with an array of stainless steel dental tools and a mask with the extracted tooth clasped in the pincers and reflected in the mirror

Wisdom teeth are named such because they tend to come in far later in life than the rest of your teeth do, with the idea being that you’ll be wiser with the advancement in age. Whether that’s an accurate assumption depends entirely on the individual, as does whether or not it makes sense to keep some or all of them. If keeping them doesn’t make sense, it can help to learn what you should expect from a wisdom tooth removal.


It’s pretty normal to have some questions about the removal experience. One of the best things you can do to prepare for a wisdom tooth removal is to ask them ahead of the procedure. Find out about things like anesthesia options, how many will be removed, potential complications, how long it will take, and anything else you might be wondering about. There’s a good chance that driving arrangements will need to be made. Avoid consuming any food or drink six hours before the appointment. Wear nonrestrictive, loose clothing and securely fastened shoes.

Anesthesia Options

There are a few different anesthesia options. Local anesthesia can be a good fit if the removal is a simple extraction. It’s administered via a shot and may be paired with laughing gas for heightened relaxation. IV sedation is an option too. Like the name suggests, the drugs will be administered through an IV. The mouth will be numbed as well. You may just be drowsy or you may fall asleep. General anesthesia is the third option. This is administered through the vein or a mask. It makes you go to sleep so you’ll be unconscious the whole time.

Immediately After the Removal

The experience immediately after the removal is heavily impacted by the anesthetic that was administered. Those who are given local anesthesia tend to be far more alert than those who are given one of the other options. Those options are usually the ones that prompt the funny wisdom tooth videos that can be found online. It can take some time for the effects to wear off. Swelling is normal, as is discomfort once the pain meds wear off. Gauze will be placed over the socket to help control and stop the bleeding.

Having wisdom teeth removed can be a nerve wracking prospect, but it doesn’t have to be. Knowing what to expect can go a long way towards soothing nerves and making sure that everything is in place to ensure a smooth recovery. Besides, the orthodontist handling the removal will have done this many times before. You’ll be in good hands.

But what about after the removal? Check this out for some helpful post removal care tips.

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