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Getting your wisdom tooth removed may sound like torture but the truth is a lot better. We take a look at non-surgical wisdom tooth removal, the process involved as well as what you can expect afterward.

Wisdom Tooth Removal

Getting your wisdom teeth removed is the most common oral surgical procedure that people will go through [1]. The process, while routine and very common, still strikes fear into the heart of a lot of people. Infection after wisdom tooth removal, pain during and after the process, fear of long-term damage that arises from getting teeth extracted and other such concerns can make patients very jittery [2].

The first thing to understand is that wisdom tooth extraction may be carried it in a surgical method or non-surgical method. We will deal with what patients can expect during and after a non-surgical wisdom tooth extraction in this article.

Non-Surgical Wisdom Tooth Removal – Things To Expect

If your dentist has informed you that you need to get your wisdom tooth extracted and that it will be done by a non-surgical method then it means that your wisdom tooth has erupted into the mouth completely.

We have four wisdom teeth, two in the upper jaw (one on each side) and two in the lower jaw (one on each side). They are the last teeth to erupt and are the furthest back in the jaw. This placement and their timing of eruption make it very likely that the wisdom teeth do not have the required space to erupt properly. The fact that our jaws have grown smaller with evolution also contributes majorly to this [3].

Pre-extraction procedure

The first thing that a dentist will do is a clinical inspection of the tooth to be removed. A small dental x-ray, which is usually taken on the dental chair itself, will then be viewed to get an idea of the shape of the roots and any other interference which might make the extraction difficult [4].

The dentist may also choose to put you on an antibiotics course a couple of days prior to the extraction in the presence of a severe infection [5].

Wisdom tooth removal procedure

The procedure for removal of a wisdom tooth by a non-surgical method is almost exactly the same as any other tooth for the patient. Yes, the dentist will have to use some specialized instruments and specific extraction techniques but that is not something that matters to the patient at all.

All you will feel is the prick of the needle as anesthesia is being administered. After that, there will be absolutely no pain until the procedure has been completed [6]. There are a few things that make even a non-surgical wisdom tooth removal slightly more complicated, though.

Since the teeth are often erupted in the wrong direction, extracting the tooth can take longer than for other teeth. The patient may also experience some discomfort due to opening the mouth wide, feeling the cheeks and the corner of the lips get stretched, and possibly some pressure when the dentist tries to gain access to the tooth [7].

In general, upper wisdom teeth are easier extractions to go through and heal better as well. Lower wisdom teeth are embedded in a denser bone and have a root anatomy that can make their extraction more difficult.  

Depending upon the condition of the tooth and its position, your dentist may choose to cut your tooth and remove it in parts to make it easier for everyone involved.

What to expect after wisdom tooth removal?

Wisdom tooth removal infection can be one of the reasons why patients have pain, discomfort, and other horror stories to share after their procedure has been carried out. There are a few ways to prevent that from happening, though, as well as making sure that you remain as comfortable as possible [8].

A little bit of pain and discomfort is expected after a non-surgical wisdom tooth removal. If there was a lot of infection, decay, or pre-existing swelling then the amount of discomfort faced after the extraction is usually a little more than when compared to a planned extraction under antibiotic cover [9].

Some patients may find a little bit of swelling that appears after 24-48 hours and then stays for a couple of days before subsiding on its own. Application of a cold pack can help reduce the swelling. Heat application is an absolute contraindication as that can actually increase the swelling considerably [10].

Patients may also feel a little bit of discomfort on chewing, swallowing, or even opening their mouth. Taking painkillers and antibiotics as directed by their dentist will help prevent these symptoms from being severe.

The healing period after a non-surgical extraction is usually around a week. The first 2-3 days are the most important during which special care must be taken to avoid smoking of any kind, chewable tobacco, and to maintain good oral hygiene [11].


A non-surgical wisdom tooth extraction is almost always an easy procedure for both the dentist and the patient. All it requires is some careful planning and following the instructions to make it completely uneventful.

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