Wisdom teeth removal

Surgical removal of painful impacted wisdom teeth.

Typical Hospital Stay

Same-day discharge

Type of anaesthetic

General or local

Covered by health insurance?


Procedure duration

30 minutes to one hour

Available to self-pay?


Why you might need wisdom teeth removal

Our wisdom teeth typically emerge in our late teens or early 20s. Some people never develop them while others have up to four – one in each back corner of the mouth.

Wisdom teeth usually cause no problems, but if there isn’t enough space for them to grow and they become ‘impacted’, they can cause pain, swelling, infection or damage to other teeth.

With food and bacteria more likely to get trapped around the edges of impacted wisdom teeth, plaque can build up and cause short and long-term dental problems – no matter how good you are at cleaning and flossing. These can include:

  • tooth decay
  • gum disease
  • pericoronitis – inflammation of the gum around wisdom teeth
  • cellulitis – a bacterial infection in the cheek, tongue or throat
  • abscess – when a bacterial infection causes pus to collect in your wisdom teeth or the surrounding tissue

If treatments such as antibiotics and antiseptic mouthwash haven’t worked for any of these problems, or you are regularly affected by pain and discomfort, removing one or more of the wisdom teeth can provide a long-term solution.

Find a consultant at Sussex Premier Health

Mr Michael Williams

Consultant in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

Your initial consultation

You’ll meet your consultant in one of our private consultation rooms.

During this time you will be able to explain your medical history symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.

We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests such as scans or blood tests are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.

What to expect

We understand that surgery can potentially be a time of anxiety and worry.

Our experienced and caring dental medical staff will be supporting you. They’ll give you a local anaesthetic injection to numb the area around the tooth. Sedative drugs can be given with local anaesthesia to help you feel relaxed during the procedure.

A few people prefer to have a general anaesthetic which means you’ll be asleep especially if the extraction is going to be particularly complicated. You will have discussed this with your consultant at the initial consultation.

Assuming that you’ve had a local anaesthetic you’ll feel some pressure just before the tooth is removed. That’s because your oral surgeon needs to rock the tooth back and forth to widen the tooth socket. Sometimes they have to make a cut in your gum and cut your tooth into smaller pieces before it’s removed. Such extractions usually take between a few minutes to 30 minutes.

If you’ve had a local anaesthetic you will probably be able to leave the hospital straight after the procedure.

If you have a general anaesthetic our nursing staff will monitor you back in your private room on our ward until you are ready to be discharged. This is almost always on the same day and does not normally require an overnight stay.

Treatment and recovery timeline

Same-day discharge

You’ll be able to leave the hospital shortly after your procedure

24 - 48 hours

Avoid any strenuous chores for a few days. If your wisdom teeth were removed under general anaesthetic, you must avoid driving for at least 48 hours after your procedure

2 days

Return to work and light activities. Please follow your consultant’s advice

2 weeks

Your mouth and jaw fully recovered

We will provide you with any medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you. You can use over-the-counter medicines such as paracetamol or ibuprofen with some research suggesting the latter is particularly effective in dealing with pain following wisdom teeth removal. The nurse will advise on appropriate pain relief for you before you leave hospital.

It’s a good idea to take a day or two off work – please follow your consultant’s advice.

Your mouth and jaw might take up to two weeks to fully recover after your wisdom teeth are removed.

During this time you may experience:

  • swelling (inflammation) of your mouth and cheeks – this will be worst for the first few days but gradually improves; gently pressing a cold cloth to your face can help to reduce the swelling
  • a stiff sore jaw – this should wear off within seven to 10 days; the skin around your jaw may also be bruised for up to two weeks
  • an unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • tingling or numbness of your face lips or tongue although this is uncommon.

You can reduce the impact and aid your recovery with practical steps like using an extra pillow to support your head at night, avoiding rigorous activities for a few days and eating soft or liquid food during that time. Avoid alcohol and smoking for a few days.

During the first 24 hours you should avoid rinsing, spitting and hot drinks. This reduces the risk of removing the blood clots that form in the empty tooth socket which help the healing process.

After 24 hours gently rinse the affected area with mouthwash after and carry on doing that regularly for a few days.

If you had a local anaesthetic and feel well enough you can drive yourself home.

If you had a sedative you should avoid driving for at least 24 hours so you might want to ask a friend or relative to collect you after your treatment.

You should not drive for 48 hours after a general anaesthetic. You might also need help with any strenuous chores or put them off for a few days if you can.

On rare occasions there can be complications following the removal of wisdom teeth. If you experience any of these symptoms or have any other concerns – call us straight away:

  • bleeding which doesn’t stop after applying pressure or that lasts for more than half an hour
  • have difficulty in breathing or swallowing
  • have severe pain get a high temperature or fever
  • continue to have facial swelling three days after the operation

We will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they could apply to you.

Even after your treatment we’re still here when you need us.

After removing your wisdom tooth or teeth, we’ll provide you with advice and support to help you recover quickly.

If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery you can call and speak to a member of the nursing team at any time, please call 01424 757459.

Interested in finding out more?

Speak to a member of our team

Phone01424 757400

Enquiry form

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