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Did you think that the whole teething thing was the purview of babies and toddlers, or perhaps adolescents as they lose their baby teeth and the permanent set grows in? If so, you’re mostly right, but not entirely. Wisdom teeth often make their appearance later in life, usually sometime in the teens to early 20’s. Every year, 5 million people get theirs removed, making it a reasonably common procedure. So how exactly does the process go?


Getting any tooth extracted without anesthesia is an intimidating prospect. Fortunately, that isn’t anything you have to worry about when you get your wisdom teeth extracted. Once you’re all settled in the dentist chair, you’ll be given anesthesia to help you stay comfortable. It usually starts with a topical anesthetic to avoid pain from any injections you may be given. From there, the anesthesia options include local anesthesia, sedation anesthesia, and general anesthesia. Which one is given to you will depend on your comfort level and the anticipated complexity of the extraction.

The Extraction

The extraction process itself is pretty straightforward. If the wisdom tooth has not erupted, an incision in the gum will be made to expose the tooth and bone. Portions of bone blocking the root of the tooth will be removed, after which the tooth itself may be divided into sections for easier removal. After the tooth is removed, the area will be cleaned. Stitches may be applied to close the wound, after which gauze will be placed over it to help control bleeding and encourage clotting.

Post-Extraction Care

Ah, the part from which many YouTube videos have been made. After the extraction, you’ll be given some time to recover. How long that takes will depend on the level of anesthesia you were given. If you had anything other than just local anesthesia, recovery will take longer. You will be given instructions on how to control any bleeding, swelling, and bruising, keep the site clean, pain management, what you should and shouldn’t eat or drink, recommended activity levels, and what needs to be done with your stitches, if you received them. Follow the instructions carefully for the best recovery outcome.

If you find that you or someone you know is going to need their wisdom teeth removed, becoming familiar with the extraction process can help. What exactly that entails will depend on the state the teeth themselves are in, especially as it relates to the other teeth. Remember, if you have any questions about your wisdom teeth, you can always ask Dr. Updike for some insights.

Regular dental appointments give Dr. Updike a chance to check on your wisdom teeth and see how they’re coming along. Click here to contact us and set up your next appointment at South Temple Dental so we can make sure everything is on the right track!