Wisdom Teeth Removal FAQs: How Long Does It Take?

Getting your wisdom teeth removed seems like a daunting experience. To prepare you for this dental procedure, learn everything you need to know about wisdom teeth and how they’re removed.

What Are Wisdom Teeth and Why Are They Wise?

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth on the top and bottom of your rows. They’re also called third molars.

Wisdom teeth are famously the last to come in. Generally, they come in between the ages of 17 and 21.

This is why they’re called wisdom teeth. You’re more mature and wiser when you get them. So, it’s not the tooth that’s wise, it’s you. 

Why Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Even if your tooth doesn’t hurt, your dentist may recommend that you get your wisdom teeth removed.

Why should you get your wisdom teeth removed if they don’t hurt?

This procedure is mainly preventive. It prevents other issues later. It's a temporary discomfort for long-lasting benefits.

Some of the issues wisdom tooth removal can prevent are:

  • Impacted wisdom teeth: If your wisdom teeth aren’t growing in the right direction, they may break through your jaw or damage your other teeth. This is what we call impacted wisdom teeth.
  • Overcrowded teeth: Even if the wisdom teeth grow in the right direction, if you have a small jaw, the rest of your teeth may lose their alignment. Overcrowded teeth aren’t just an aesthetic problem. Your bite changes. Plus, you’ll be more prone to cavities.
  • Other wisdom teeth issues: Ultimately, it’s better to remove wisdom teeth sooner than later. If you encounter other issues, such as cavities or tooth decay, removing wisdom teeth later can lead to more complications.   

What’s the Wisdom Tooth Removal Process?

Before You Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

Generally, a dentist or an oral surgeon removes wisdom teeth.

First, they’ll take a dental X-ray of your mouth to determine whether the tooth needs to be extracted in the first place. If it’s impacted, or you’re at risk of overcrowding teeth, they’ll proceed with surgery.

You’ll discuss the steps and the cost of the removal, and schedule a time for the surgery with your dentist.

The Removal Procedure

Depending on which teeth your dentist removes, your procedure will start with anesthetics.

Generally, if all your wisdom teeth get removed at the same time, you’ll receive general anesthetics. However, your dentist may choose to use local anesthesia depending on your situation.

General anesthesia means that you’re a controlled state of unconsciousness. It’s often compared to deep sleep. Local anesthesia on the other hand only numbs the area. You still don’t feel any pain, but you’re awake for the entire procedure.

Once anesthesia is administered, your dentist will make a small incision in the gums above your wisdom teeth if they haven’t erupted yet. 

Your dentist or oral surgeon may need to cut the tooth into several smaller pieces to remove it.

You shouldn’t feel any pain during wisdom tooth removal surgery. If you do feel pain, make sure to let your dentist know, so they can give you more local anesthesia.

Once the tooth is removed, the dentist will stitch your gums back together. The stiches will either be self-dissolving (7-10 days) or the dentist will remove them after about a week.

After-Removal Care

Immediately after surgery, the dentist will give you a gauze to bite on. You need to hold it above your wound for an hour to give your body time to form a blood clot. Blood clots are essential for the healing process.

If you remove them or prevent them from forming, you can have serious consequences. Typically, this is known as a dry socket. It’s a painful condition that happens if the clot fails to form or is removed.

In some cases, the dentist will prescribe antibiotics to prevent infections after your surgery. 

In the first 24 hours after surgery, you also want to make sure you avoid rinsing your mouth with liquids, drinking alcohol or hot liquids, and smoking tobacco. You should also avoid strenuous exercise. 

How Long Does Wisdom Teeth Removal Take?

How long wisdom teeth removal takes varies case by case.

Wisdom tooth extraction can last from a few minutes to up to an hour. Overall, you should expect the dentist to take an average of 20 minutes per tooth.

Generally, if the wisdom tooth has already come in, it’s faster to remove it. However, extracting a tooth that’s underneath your gums requires incisions and cutting. That takes more time.

It’s also important to note that for the benefit of your mouth as a whole, it’s better to remove an impacted wisdom tooth sooner rather than later.

What’s the Best Age for Wisdom Tooth Removal?

If the wisdom tooth is causing you issues, any age is acceptable for its removal. However, the most ideal time to take out your wisdom teeth for preventive purposes is between the ages of 17 and 21, before your wisdom teeth erupt.

How Much Does Wisdom Teeth Removal Cost?

The cost of wisdom teeth removal varies depending on how many teeth are extracted, what the condition of the wisdom teeth is, and what dental practice you go to.

The more complicated your wisdom tooth removal surgery is, the more it will cost.

To give you a ballpark figure, removing wisdom teeth can cost $75-200/tooth. If they’re impacted wisdom teeth, the price can go up to $300-500/tooth.

To remove all four of your wisdom teeth with general anesthesia, a dentist can easily charge upwards of $1500-2000. 

You must also think of the associated cost of the wisdom tooth removal process. Consultations, X-rays, and the removal of stitches can cost you extra.

Luckily, you don’t need to pay the full cost of your wisdom teeth removal surgery if you have a dental discount card like Carefree Dental.

Save on Your Wisdom Teeth Removal

Getting your wisdom teeth removed doesn’t have to be a long, expensive, or scary process.

With Carefree Dental, you can save 15-50%* per visit in most instances at a participating dentist.. 

Since the Carefree Dental Card only costs $15.95/month for individuals and $19.95/month for families, that means you can get considerable savings for your whole household at an affordable rate.

Sign up for the Carefree Dental Card today to get your wisdom teeth removed cheaper!


* Actual costs and savings vary by provider, service and geographical area. 

The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed dentist or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.

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