Dental Health Blog

Wisdom Tooth Extraction in Calgary: All You Need to Know

Wisdom tooth extraction is a common dental procedure in Calgary to remove one or more wisdom teeth. The wisdom teeth are located in the back corners of your mouth that typically appear between the ages of 17 and 25. For some people, their wisdom teeth erupt naturally with no issues or they don’t develop wisdom teeth at all. For others, wisdom teeth can cause some problems.

Why you may need a wisdom tooth extraction

Your dentist will typically recommend removing your wisdom teeth if they are impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth may grow at an angle toward the tooth beside it, toward the back of the mouth, or completely “lying down” within the jawbone. Wisdom teeth can also erupt straight like other teeth but may be trapped within the jawbone.

While your dentist may recommend extraction, you always have a choice. Understandably, any dental surgery comes with some anxiety and fear about the pain and recovery time. However, keep in mind that wisdom tooth extraction is meant to prevent severe toothache and infection, which can lead to a more painful experience than the surgical process itself.

Problems with impacted wisdom teeth

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause:

  • Severe pain if it begins to push against other teeth
  • Food and debris to become trapped, leading to tooth decay
  • A higher risk of infection or gum disease
  • Damage to surrounding teeth
  • Risk of developing a cyst around the wisdom tooth

Even if an impacted tooth is not causing problems at the moment, professional dentists are trained and educated to predict the movement of teeth based on your X-rays. For this reason, many people choose to have a wisdom tooth extraction as preventative care, before they cause painful and extensive problems.

What to expect with wisdom tooth extraction

If your dentist recommends an extraction, they will walk you through the process step-by-step, explain the benefits and risks, how to prep for the surgery, and recovery time. They will answer all of your questions and concerns, including your thoughts about anesthesia, sedation, and pain management. You may need to have one or more wisdom teeth removed, depending on your situation. Generally, most people choose to extract all of their wisdom teeth to get it done and for their peace of mind.

Your dental team will then work with you to schedule your appointment and will recommend that you take time off of work or school to recover. You’ll need to have a family or friend transport you to the dental office and back home on the day of your surgery.

During the procedure

On the day of the surgery, your dental team will make sure that you’re comfortable and will help ease any anxiety. Your dentist will offer different options of anesthesia and sedation based on your comfort levels and how extensive the procedure will be.

Once the anesthetics or sedation kicks in, your dentist will begin the surgery, which involves:

  • Making an incision in the gum tissue to expose the tooth
  • Removing bone that’s blocking access to the tooth root
  • Removing the tooth completely or dividing it into sections if it’s easier to remove it in pieces
  • Cleaning the site and stitching the wound closed (stitches aren’t always necessary)
  • Placing gauze over the wound to control bleeding and encourage a blood clot to form

Recovery time for wisdom teeth extraction

Right after the procedure, you can expect to either stay in the dental chair or be taken to a recovery room depending on whether you receive local anesthesia or a form of sedation. Your dental team will monitor you for at least 15 minutes before you can go home. You’ll be given after-care instructions along with some gauze and typically a prescription for a pain reliever.

Your dentist will recommend that you eat only soft foods and drink water, avoiding alcohol caffeine, carbonated beverages, and hot drinks in the first 24 hours after surgery. You’ll also need to avoid drinking out of a strawy, as the sucking action can remove the blood clot from the socket that’s necessary for healing.

Depending on how many wisdom teeth were extracted, most people fully recover from the surgery in 3-4 days. As your gums heal, you can expect:

  • Some bleeding - Replace gauze as directed and avoid excessive spitting
  • Soreness and pain - You can take a pain reliever as directed or hold a cold pack against your jaw. When the anesthesia wears off, you’ll feel the most pain on the first day of recovery which will taper off through the following days. Call your dentist if the pain persists and does not get better.
  • Swelling and bruising - Swelling of your cheeks typically improves by the second or third day.

Depending on the type of stitches you receive or at all, you can expect them to dissolve within a few weeks or you may need to schedule an appointment to have them removed once the gums have healed.

Modern dentistry has made incredible strides in the removal of wisdom teeth. With accurate X-ray imaging and advanced tools, wisdom teeth extraction in Calgary is generally safe, poses very little risk, and most patients have a smooth recovery.


Medically reviewed by Dr. Gurshant Grewal - a Registered Dentist on November 15, 2021

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