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Wisdom Tooth Removal: Be Ready for Tooth Extraction Aftercare

Haleigh Pouliot Dr. Macau

Written by Haleigh Pouliot

Medically reviewed by Dr. Macau

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Have you noticed your teeth shifting lately? You might wonder whether your wisdom teeth are causing your teeth to crowd together and should be removed.

Wisdom teeth aren’t usually responsible for shifting teeth, but if there isn’t enough room for your wisdom teeth, then they can become impacted and press on your other teeth. This increases your risk for problems like decay, gum disease, and crowding. But also changing the occlusion and normal bite is modified which can cause trauma in the ATM due to unequal forces

So if your wisdom teeth haven’t grown into healthy alignment, then you might need wisdom tooth extraction.

But you probably have questions about wisdom teeth surgery:

How long does wisdom teeth removal take?

What about the pain?

How long will it take to recover and what can you do to speed up that time?

Wisdom Teeth Removal: What to Know Beforehand

There are a few things you should know before you plan your wisdom teeth removal because timing is important.

If you need some kind of orthodontic treatment such as braces, teeth aligners, or active retainers, then you might have to get your wisdom teeth removed first. This is because once those teeth are gone, you’ll have more room to get the rest of your teeth evenly spaced out.

what to know about wisdom teeth extraction

Generally, it’s easiest to get your wisdom tooth surgery out of the way before you pursue other dental treatment, cosmetic, orthodontic, or otherwise. This is because removing wisdom teeth that are unhealthy or impacted can make your mouth healthier and create a better oral environment that improves the chances of success for future dental procedures.

Additionally, wisdom tooth removal is easier to do when you’re younger and the wisdom teeth aren’t completely formed and also the bones are not fully mineralized as they are still developing having a softer structure. This is because wisdom teeth develop strong roots that anchor deep in the bone tissue over time making them harder to remove. 

Who Should Remove My Wisdom Teeth?

Another important factor in your wisdom teeth removal procedure is the professional you choose to do it.

What about an orthodontist vs dentist? Either an orthodontist or dentist can tell you that your wisdom teeth need to come out. Most likely, however, they’ll refer to an oral surgeon or another dentist who specializes in doing wisdom tooth extractions.

An oral surgeon, for example, has an office with all the tools and technology necessary to safely and successfully remove wisdom teeth, which can be a complicated process.

Getting your wisdom teeth taken out is a pretty major oral surgery. Even though you should only need to have it done once, you’ll want an experienced professional such as an oral surgeon to do it.

Wisdom Teeth Surgery: The Procedure

What exactly is involved in having your wisdom teeth removed?

First, you’ll have to meet with the oral surgeon to discuss your treatment needs. At this consultation, you’ll get the chance to ask questions and find out what to expect in your situation. You’ll also learn your wisdom tooth extraction cost and how insurance could help you afford treatment. The surgeon also needs an image of the tooth to see the roots and relation to other anatomic parts. Depending on the case and option of the surgeon a small xray called periapical can be enough but most common used are the panoramic xrays and not that often CT scans.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Procedure

At your wisdom tooth extraction appointment, the surgeon will first make sure that you are comfortable and numb per your sedation preferences.

You can choose to have just an injection of local anesthesia. This will keep you out of pain, but you will be completely alert for the procedure. You’ll be able to communicate with your oral surgeon and you’ll probably hear the noises and feel the pressure associated with pulling out your teeth.

If the idea of staying awake during your treatment makes you uncomfortable, then you could choose to be sedated. Mild sedation is given with medication or an IV and will keep you very relaxed and drowsy during your treatment. You won’t feel anything and you also probably won’t remember anything when the sedation wears off.

wisdom teeth extraction procedure
Wisdom Tooth Removal: Be Ready for Tooth Extraction Aftercare 1

Alternatively, you could also get general anesthesia which will render you totally unconscious. If you have some kind of sedation, then you will need to have a trusted friend or family member accompany you to and from your appointment to make sure you get home safely.

During your treatment, the oral surgeon may simply pull out your wisdom teeth if they have completely grown out of the gums. But if your wisdom teeth didn’t erupt, then they may need to be surgically removed. This involves cutting through the gum and bone tissue to access the teeth. If there are problems with the roots, then the surgeon may need to cut up the wisdom teeth and take them out in separate pieces.

How Long Does Wisdom Teeth Surgery Take?

Your wisdom teeth surgery should only take about 45 minutes or an hour including the anesthetic process. It depends on how many you’re having out, how complicated your case is, and what your anesthesia needs are.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Recovery

Getting your wisdom teeth removed is only half the battle. A speedy recovery afterward is the key to restoring your oral health and getting you back to your normal daily routine.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Pain

wisdom teeth removal pain

Having your wisdom teeth removed is no picnic. While the procedure itself isn’t painful thanks to anesthesia and sedation, things get uncomfortable when the medications wear off and you get home. You can definitely expect some pain and swelling as you recover.

How long does pain after wisdom tooth extraction last? Probably about 48 hours. But as long as you take the medications your dentist prescribes, then you can minimize this pain enough to get some restful sleep.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Recovery Time

wisdom teeth removal recovery time

What will your wisdom teeth removal recovery timeline look like? That’s a factor that depends on each individual. For example, if you’re still in your late teens or early twenties, then your mouth will probably recover quite quickly. Older folks, however, tend to need more time to recover from surgery.

Another factor is smoking and general health. If you’re fairly healthy, then recovery from wisdom tooth surgery should be pretty straightforward. But if you’re on blood thinners, have diabetes or smoke, then you might run into some issues that could slow down your recovery. Oral hygiene is very important as well as a patient who is not brushing correct or at all have a high risk of after surgery infection due to a high concentration of local bacteria. This is why in cases like this, hygiene is required before wisdom tooth extraction.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Aftercare

Fortunately, you can minimize pain and swelling after wisdom tooth removal by following your oral surgeon’s aftercare instructions and doing things like:

Wisdom Teeth Removal Complications

Some potential complications after wisdom tooth extraction include:

You can minimize your risk for these uncomfortable conditions by following your oral surgeon’s aftercare instructions. In addition, your surgeon will also reduce the chance of complications by carefully planning your treatment before the surgery.

What Can You Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Your mouth will be very sore after your wisdom teeth are extracted. Stick to soft foods that don’t require any chewing. Crunchy and chewy foods can make your mouth ache and even tear open stitches at the surgical site.

Also, avoid foods that have small seeds or grains that can get stuck in the spots where your wisdom teeth were since that could cause irritation and infection. You should also stay away from anything too acidic, spicy, or hot as these things can increase your discomfort.

Cool, soft, and rather bland foods, on the other hand, can actually feel quite soothing on your sore gums and ease some of the swelling you’ll experience.

soup after wisdom teeth extraction
what can you eat after wisdom teeth removal

You might notice that most of those easy-to-eat and soothing foods are low in nutrients or high in sugar. Your body will need good nutrition in order to heal quickly after wisdom tooth surgery. So it’s important to try to include other foods that can provide you with some protein and vitamins.

Do some grocery shopping in advance of your wisdom tooth surgery so that you can stock up on everything you need. You won’t want to leave the house for at least a few days after your teeth are removed! As you pick up items, look for those simple and soft foods that will be gentle on your mouth, but try to keep your diet varied so that you get all those good nutrients, too.

Foods to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal

Here’s a list that can help you to plan your meal menus for the time that you’re recovering from wisdom tooth surgery:

How Long After Wisdom Teeth Removal Can I Eat Normally?

You should try to eat only soft and liquid foods for the first day or two after your wisdom tooth surgery. This time period is crucial to healing and promoting blood clot formation at the surgical site so you don’t want to disturb that. At this time, stick to soups, shakes, and ice cream.

Listen to your body as you continue to recover over the next few days. You’ll soon be able to move onto the more solid foods like eggs and oatmeal and even toast which require more chewing.

You should be back to eating normally within a week of your surgery.


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