northern virginia surgical arts

While you may have heard a variety of stories from friends and coworkers who have had their wisdom teeth removed, you may be filled with dread at the thought of having to go through it yourself. This is actually a very common procedure and usually is accomplished without any major problems. Thanks to modern dental knowledge and anesthesia, the procedure itself should be generally painless, and recovery should only take a day or two before you feel as if you are just about back to normal. Check out the answers to some of the most common questions about wisdom teeth extractions below.

Where Are the Wisdom Teeth?

The wisdom teeth are sometimes called the third molars and are the large teeth in the back of the mouth. Most people have two upper and two lower wisdom teeth. However, approximately 25 percent of the population is born without one or more of their wisdom teeth. They usually erupt around the age of 18.

Will My Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Extracted?

Most people’s jaws are not large enough to hold all 32 teeth, which is the full number of teeth that a grown adult has without extractions. Because of this, the wisdom teeth, which are last to erupt, are often pushed off to the side or are unable to erupt completely. This can lead to pain, pressure on the surrounding teeth, gum disease, decay and infection. If there is not enough room for the wisdom teeth to come in straight and completely, they should be removed.

When Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Extracted?

A good time to have this procedure is when you are young and roots have not yet fully formed.  When the roots are fully formed, the wisdom teeth can sometimes be more impacted and more difficult to remove.  When your wisdom teeth are less impacted, they are easier to remove and your recovery will be shorter. Please also plan ahead and have this procedure when you can take a few days away from your normal activities.

What Is the Procedure Like?

Most patients choose to have their wisdom teeth extracted under general anesthesia or IV sedation for comfort and lessened anxiety. However, a very easy extraction may only require local anesthetic. It should be a short procedure followed by a brief recovery period before you will be sent home with gauze packing materials and a prescription for pain control medication.

How Is Recovery after Extraction?

Discomfort will be greatest within the first two days after extraction when you will have to be careful with what you eat. However, most people begin feeling like themselves within four to seven days. By following your practitioner’s instructions, you can avoid complications, such as dry socket.


While this information certainly answers some of your most pressing questions about wisdom teeth extractions, you are sure to have others on your mind as well. Be sure to write them down so that you can discuss them with your practitioner before your procedure. By getting your questions answered ahead of time, you can go into this procedure with a calm mind, knowing that its benefits will be enormous.