Preparing for Wisdom Teeth Removal – What to Expect

Wisdom teeth removal is a common dental procedure that many individuals undergo during their late teens or early adulthood. These third molars often cause various dental issues, such as overcrowding, impaction, and infection. If you have been advised to have your wisdom teeth removed, it is important to understand what the procedure entails and how to prepare for it. This article will guide you through the necessary steps to ensure a smooth and comfortable experience during expert wisdom teeth removal.

Key Takeaways:

  • Wisdom teeth, or third molars, can cause various dental issues and often require removal.
  • Consultation with a dentist is necessary to assess the need for wisdom teeth removal.
  • Medical history, physical examination, and dental imaging help determine the best approach for the procedure.
  • Follow pre-operative instructions, including dietary restrictions and medication guidelines, for a successful surgery.
  • Anaesthesia options can be discussed with your dentist to ensure a comfortable experience.
  • Arrange for transportation to and from the procedure, as the effects of anaesthesia can impair driving abilities.
  • The procedure involves anaesthesia administration and the use of surgical techniques to extract wisdom teeth.
  • Proper post-operative care is crucial for recovery, including managing pain, and swelling, and following a soft or liquid diet.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene while being gentle around the extraction area to avoid disturbing the blood clot.
  • Schedule follow-up appointments with your dentist to monitor healing and receive further guidance.
  • Potential complications, though rare, include infection, dry socket, nerve damage, and prolonged bleeding.
  • Recovery times vary, but most individuals heal within a week or two, with complete healing taking several weeks.
  • Wisdom teeth removal is generally not painful during the procedure due to anaesthesia.
  • It is recommended to gradually reintroduce solid foods after the initial recovery period.
  • Contact your dentist if you experience severe pain, excessive bleeding, or other concerning symptoms after the procedure.

wisdom tooth removal

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the final set of teeth to erupt in the back corners of the mouth. Typically, they appear between the ages of 17 and 25. However, not everyone develops wisdom teeth and those who do often experience complications due to insufficient space in the mouth. These teeth can grow at different angles, become impacted (partially or fully trapped beneath the gum line), or cause crowding and misalignment of adjacent teeth.

When is wisdom teeth removal necessary?

Wisdom teeth removal is recommended when they cause problems or have the potential to cause complications. Some common indications for extraction include:

  • Impacted wisdom teeth causing pain, swelling, and discomfort.
  • Partially erupted wisdom teeth, which are difficult to clean and prone to infection.
  • Crowding or shifting of adjacent teeth due to the growth of wisdom teeth.
  • Formation of cysts or tumours around impacted wisdom teeth, leading to jaw and nerve damage.

Preparing for wisdom teeth removal

Before undergoing wisdom teeth removal, proper preparation is essential. Here are the steps you should take:

Consultation with a dentist

Schedule an appointment with your dentist or oral surgeon to evaluate your wisdom teeth. They will examine your mouth, review dental X-rays, and determine if extraction is necessary. This initial consultation allows the dental professional to assess the complexity of the procedure and discuss any concerns or questions you may have.

Medical history and physical examination

During the consultation, provide your dentist with a detailed medical history, including any current medications, allergies, or pre-existing conditions. They will perform a physical examination, checking the condition of your teeth, gums, and jaw. This information helps them tailor the procedure and anaesthesia options to your specific needs.

Dental X-rays and imaging

To assess the position and condition of your wisdom teeth accurately, your dentist will order dental X-rays or other imaging tests. These images provide valuable information about the roots, proximity to nerves, and the presence of any pathology. By analysing these images, the dental professional can plan the extraction procedure accordingly.

Pre-operative instructions

Your dentist will provide specific pre-operative instructions to follow in the days leading up to the procedure. These instructions may include guidelines regarding eating and drinking, as well as instructions on medication use and discontinuation of certain drugs. It’s crucial to follow these instructions carefully to ensure a successful and complication-free surgery.

Dietary restrictions

In the days before the procedure, your dentist may recommend a soft or liquid diet. Avoiding hard, crunchy, or sticky foods reduces the risk of dislodging blood clots or causing irritation to the surgical site. Focus on consuming nutritious foods that are easy to chew and swallow to promote healing and minimise discomfort.

Medications and anaesthesia options

Discuss anaesthesia options with your dentist or oral surgeon. Wisdom teeth removal can be performed under local anaesthesia, intravenous sedation, or general anaesthesia, depending on your preference and the complexity of the procedure. Your dental professional will explain the benefits and potential risks associated with each option, helping you make an informed decision.

Transportation arrangements

Arrange for someone to drive you home after the surgery, as the effects of anaesthesia can impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely. It is advisable to have a responsible adult accompany you during the procedure and stay with you for the first few hours of recovery.

What to expect during the procedure

Now that you are well-prepared, let’s explore what you can expect during the wisdom teeth removal procedure.

Anaesthesia administration

Before the procedure begins, the anaesthesia chosen during the consultation will be administered. Local anaesthesia involves numbing the surgical area, while sedation or general anaesthesia induces sleep and ensures a painless experience.

Surgical techniques

The dental professional will employ various surgical techniques to remove your wisdom teeth. If the teeth have erupted fully, they can be extracted using forceps. However, if the teeth are impacted or haven’t fully emerged, an incision may be required to access and remove them. In some cases, the teeth may need to be sectioned into smaller pieces for easier extraction.

Recovery and aftercare

After wisdom teeth removal, proper care and attention are crucial to promote healing and prevent complications. Here are some important aspects of the recovery process:

Managing pain and swelling

Pain and swelling are common after the extraction procedure. Your dentist may prescribe pain medications to alleviate discomfort. Applying ice packs to the affected area and following any additional recommendations provided can also help reduce swelling and promote healing.

Diet and oral hygiene

Stick to a soft or liquid diet for the first few days following the surgery. Avoid hard, crunchy, or spicy foods that can irritate the surgical site. Gentle brushing of the remaining teeth is essential, but be cautious around the extraction area to prevent any disturbance to the blood clot.

Follow-up appointments

Schedule a follow-up appointment with your dentist to ensure proper healing. They will evaluate the surgical site, remove any stitches if necessary, and provide additional guidance on oral hygiene and dietary modifications.

Potential complications

While wisdom teeth removal is generally safe, there is a small risk of complications. These can include infection, dry socket (a painful condition when the blood clot is dislodged or dissolves), nerve damage, and prolonged bleeding. Contact your dentist immediately if you experience severe pain, excessive bleeding, or any other concerning symptoms.


Preparing for wisdom teeth removal is essential to ensure a smooth and comfortable experience. By following the outlined steps, consulting with your dentist, and adhering to post-operative instructions, you can minimise discomfort and promote a speedy recovery. Remember to maintain good oral hygiene and attend follow-up appointments for proper monitoring and care.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How long does it take to recover from wisdom teeth removal?

Recovery times vary, but most individuals heal within a week or two. However, complete healing can take several weeks.

Is wisdom teeth removal painful?

The procedure itself is not painful as you will be under anaesthesia. However, some discomfort and swelling can be expected during the recovery period.

Can I eat normally after wisdom teeth removal?

It is recommended to stick to a soft or liquid diet for the first few days after surgery. Gradually reintroduce solid foods as advised by your dentist.

What should I do if bleeding persists after the extraction?

Gently bite down on a clean gauze pad or a moist tea bag and apply constant pressure to the extraction site for 30 minutes. If bleeding persists, contact your dentist.

When should I contact my dentist after the procedure?

Contact your dentist if you experience severe pain, excessive bleeding, persistent fever, or any other unusual symptoms after the procedure.