What You Need To Know About Getting An Impacted Wisdom Tooth Removed

Posted on: 28 January 2015

 While an impacted wisdom tooth may cause no discomfort to some people, generally you will notice the following symptoms with an impacted wisdom tooth:

  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Pain
  • Prolonged jaw ache or headache
  • Bad taste and bad breath in mouth

Unfortunately, an impacted wisdom tooth is often more difficult to deal with, as the tooth by its very nature cannot erupt (rise above the gum line). This tooth will stay under the gum line instead, and will often displace erupted teeth and cause swelling and pain. In many cases, it requires a full service, board certified impacted tooth extraction professional (such as available at Central PA Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons LLC and elsewhere) to remove these teeth. If you have been told that you need your impacted wisdom teeth extracted, here is what you can expect.


While some extractions can proceed with a local anesthetic, impacted wisdom teeth are often difficult and time consuming to remove, and many maxillofacial surgeons will opt to sedate the patient. This sedation not only makes the patient more comfortable and tractable, but also makes the surgery go more smoothly.

Two options for sedation include I.V. sedation (which allows you to stay awake even while heavily sedated) or general anesthesia (which renders you unconscious). A board certified dentist or maxillofacial surgeon will discuss your sedation options.

Extraction Procedure

Since an impacted wisdom tooth is still not visible, the surgeon will first make a cut in the gum line and expose the impacted tooth.

The dentist will either grasp the whole tooth and pull it out of the jaw bone, or will break or cut the wisdom tooth into smaller pieces to make the removal easier.

The hole left behind by the wisdom tooth is usually packed with gauze or stitched closed, and the patient is often give a prescription for antibiotics to help reduce the chance of infection.


The recovery process of an impacted wisdom tooth can be lengthy, and the patient will often continue to bleed from their extraction site for 24-48 hours. Some swelling can be expected, and some patients find relief from swelling and pain by placing an ice pack on their jaw and cheeks for a day or two.

It's best to stay on a liquid diet for a couple of days, as long as you avoid using a straw. Eventually, you will be able to add soft, then hard foods, into your diet again.

Always follow your dentist's post-op instructions to avoid recovery complications, and an impacted wisdom tooth can be a problem of the past.