Wisdom Teeth: FAQ

Frequently Asked Wisdom Teeth Removal Questions

Does everyone have to get his or her wisdom teeth removed?

No, but most people do. From time to time, our oral surgeons Dr. Sullivan, Dr. Mehrotra or Dr. Aramphongphan see a patient whose wisdom teeth appear to have fit nicely in the mouth and thus don’t need removal, but they are still prone to disease and must be monitored for life.

When is the best time to get wisdom teeth removed?

Every patient is different, but 16 to 20 years of age is ideal. The wisdom teeth become notably more difficult to remove after the age of 30 because they start to fuse to the jawbone. The postoperative course is a lot easier in the teenage years and early twenties.

Do all four teeth have to be pulled?

Most patients develop four wisdom teeth and many of those patients will need all four wisdom teeth removed. However, each patient is examined individually by our surgeons Drs. Sullivan, Mehrotra or Aramphongphan clinically and with radiographs. It is possible that our surgeons may determine you only need one, two, or three wisdom teeth removed. Our surgeons will assess your case thoroughly to determine the best course of action.

Is it true that the surgery takes less than an hour?

Most often, yes! The length of your procedure depends on the number of teeth we are removing, the severity of impaction, and several other factors. However, the typical extraction does take less than an hour, and we will keep you comfortable the whole time.

How long does recovery take after wisdom teeth removal?

The first day of your recovery you will probably be too sleepy to do much, but most patients are back to their normal activities within 3-4 days.

Does it hurt to have your wisdom teeth removed?

During the procedure, you won’t feel a thing. However, you may have soreness for a few days following the surgery as the anesthesia wears off. Our oral surgeons Drs. Sullivan, Mehrotra or Aramphongphan will discuss pain control methods and set you up with any necessary prescriptions ahead of time so that you remain comfortable at home as well.

Will I be awake for the extraction?

We have a variety of levels of anesthesia to accommodate different patients’ needs. We will discuss your anesthesia preferences prior to your surgery day.

What does “impacted” mean?

Impacted wisdom teeth are those that are not able to fully erupt through the gums. It is a very common condition, and the number one reason that wisdom teeth end up needing removal. In fact, 9 out of 10 people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth.

What is “dry socket”?

Dry socket is a temporary complication that arises when a blood clot becomes dislodged from the extraction site, exposing tissue. The condition can be painful, but luckily most cases can be avoided by following home-care instructions including the avoidance of straws and smoking.