What to Expect When Getting Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

With a name like that, wisdom teeth sound like they’d be a good thing! Unfortunately, they can cause problems and often need to be removed.

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are third molars that normally remain in the gum tissue until age 17-25. On rare occasions, wisdom teeth breakthrough as early as age 12 and as late as age 85. Some people don’t have any wisdom teeth at all, or perhaps only have two or three, instead of the typical four. The best age to have wisdom teeth removed is 16-18 years old because healing is faster for people in that age range.

How will I know if I need to have them removed?

After your dentist examines your wisdom teeth and evaluates your x-rays, he may recommend you have your wisdom teeth removed if:

  • Your mouth does not have enough space for more teeth.
  • They are impacted or are coming in at an odd angle that can damage the roots of neighboring teeth or destroy bone support around the teeth.
  • Your teeth are too far back to properly floss or brush
  • They will interfere with braces or other orthodontics.

Because it is a surgical procedure, your dentist at Westdale Dental will refer you to an oral surgeon for wisdom tooth removal.

What will wisdom teeth surgery be like?

Wisdom tooth surgery should take 45 minutes. You will be given a local anesthetic, and most people are sedated for oral surgery, so you will not be fully conscious, and you won’t feel any pain. Some are given general anesthesia. If your surgeon needs to cut your gums or bone to get the teeth out, she or he will carefully stitch the wounds shut to enhance healing. The stitches should dissolve after a few days.

What should I do to prepare for surgery?

There isn’t much for you to do to prepare for a wisdom tooth removal. Care for your teeth as usual and make sure you have followed all instructions given to you by your oral surgeon. Stock up your fridge with plenty of soft food: yogurt, ice cream, puddings, etc. Due to the sedation, you will also need a ride from someone following the surgery, so plan for that by asking a friend or family member for help.

What can I do to recover quickly?

  1. After surgery, follow all instructions given to you by your oral surgeon.
  2. Keep your head elevated above your heart the rest of the day.
  3. Rest! Take a couple of days off work/school.
  4. Take over-the-counter pain medicine. Or, if you need more help, your dentist may prescribe enough prescription-strength pain medication for a couple of days.
  5. Drink plenty of liquids.
  6. Don’t smoke.
  7. Be sure not to drink through straws for 2 weeks.
  8. Don’t eat popcorn or nuts for 3 weeks.
  9. Eat soft foods for as long as you feel it is necessary.
  10. Continue to brush your teeth, carefully, avoiding the back of your mouth for about three days.

Ask your dentist and oral surgeon every question you can think of before scheduling oral surgery. You will also receive information that will answer many of your questions about wisdom teeth and their removal.

Wisdom tooth removal is frequently recommended by dentists and oral surgeons when people are young and healthy. Removing wisdom teeth early on can help avoid difficulties with those teeth and your jaw later in life. Please contact us with any questions about wisdom teeth and your dental health.