Patients always ask “how long will my wisdom teeth extractions take?”. This depends on many factors. Such factors include age of patient, size of roots, density of bone, configuration of the roots, etc. Generally speaking, in young patients where the wisdom teeth are already erupted, these can take anywhere from 1-10 minutes per tooth, usually closer to the 1 min mark! It is when the teeth are impacted, or the roots are big, or the bone is very dense that it can take longer to extract each tooth.
I had a patient come in for the extracted of their lower right wisdom tooth. Here is the x-ray. As you can see the tooth is “impacted” which means that it is partially or fully under the gum/bone. It is also positioned more horizontally then vertically. The red outline is the nerve which is important to note as we would never want to damage this vital structure. You can see the tooth outline in green. There is a curve on the roots but nothing out of the ordinary based on the x-ray.
The procedure involved the following steps: make an incision in the gums and reflect back the tissue. Section (cut) the tooth into individual roots. Tease or elevate these roots out one by one. It is important to remember that the patient is frozen and this is not painful! Below are the pictures of the 3 pieces that were extracted. The roots had very unique curves on them and it was important to remove them slowly to avoid breaking a root. Some bone removal was necessary to create an exit path for the roots. After the roots are extracted the patients gums were sutured back with dissolvable sutures.