Recovering After Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom teeth sometimes need to be removed for orthodontic reasons or other dental problems. They are the last set of teeth to erupt, they typically appear when an individual reaches their late teens or their early 20s. Perhaps most concerning of all is when wisdom teeth only emerge partially or if they are impacted. Other concerns include overly crowded wisdom teeth as well as the pain associated with misaligned wisdom teeth and the possibility of infection. Third molars may remain completely impacted.  X-rays are useful in detecting damage to other teeth or the jawbone when wisdom teeth are impacted. 


When should wisdom teeth be removed?

We can offer specifics about when it is best to have wisdom teeth removed. However, in most cases, when these teeth are removed before the age of 20, they have tooth roots that are much less developed, resulting in fewer complications. Most oral surgeons recommend having wisdom teeth removed somewhere between the age of 16 and 18.


How long does it take to recover from a wisdom tooth extraction?

After teeth extraction there is some level of discomfort and swelling that is associated with any oral surgery. This is a normal part of the procedure and the healing process. If there is not enough room remaining on the jaw for the wisdom teeth to grow in normally, it is best to have them removed. Tooth sensitivity weeks after wisdom tooth extraction is common and you should discuss that with your dentist. 

If there is not enough room for the tooth to erupt, they can come in at an angle, or they may not emerge fully. Impacted wisdom teeth can damage other surrounding healthy teeth and may cause severe disease. In most cases, wisdom tooth removal is an outpatient procedure and it is often done under general or local anesthesia in an outpatient environment.

Following surgery, patients will recieve a list of instructions and modifications to diet intended to promote rapid and healthy recovery. While complications are rare, this type of surgery may cause temporary nerve damage. Other minor complications can include infection of the tooth or gum due to trapped food or bacteria. There are some cases where anesthesia may cause a patient to become nauseous. 


Here is a guide about the aftermath and preparation for wisdom teeth removal surgery. 

What Happens After Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery?

  • Sensitive Teeth: Cold sensitivity on your second molars will go away eventually, but could stay for up to several months. It is safe to use a fluoride toothpaste that is ideal for sensitive teeth. You can find these types of toothpaste at your local Pharmacy. 
  • Folds in the Gumline: If you feel a little fold in the gum line, it is because the bone is in the process of remodeling and flattening out. This is all in part of the healing process and can take up to a year to heal. 
  • Sharp Edge Bone: You may feel a chip or a sharp fragment sticking out of your gums. You may feel it a couple of days after the surgery, or you may feel it up to five years afterward. 
  • TMJ Pain: You may have TMJ pain when you open your mouth. The cause of TMJ pain is having your mouth open during the time of your wisdom, tooth removal surgery. A little ice packing and rest will help to manage TMJ pain.


How do I know if my wisdom tooth extraction is healing properly?

After the surgical removal of wisdom teeth, it is recommended to follow your oral surgeon’s directions as a way to avoid any potential complications or infections. As stated, pain and swelling are a normal part of having wisdom teeth extracted. There may also be some bleeding of the gums, as the healing process will take time. Surgeons recommend being very careful not to dislodge any blood clots located around the site of the surgery.

Patients should exercise caution by avoiding the consumption of solid or hard foods, coffee, alcohol, hot beverages, or soda for at least the first few days following this type of surgical procedure. Equally important is to avoid brushing your teeth for the first day after the procedure. The firm bristles of a toothbrush could cause additional bleeding or the dislodging of a blood clot. The good news is that in most situations, a patient can expect the recovery time for wisdom teeth extraction to be about 3 to 4 days. In some cases, it may take up to a week or longer, but these cases are the exception rather than the rule.

extraction with alveoloplasty

What to expect when you get your wisdom teeth out?

Wisdom tooth extraction, considered a routine outpatient procedure,  is common and is highly successful for patients of all ages. The procedure is surgical and typically involves an oral surgeon  doing the work with the patient under either local or general anesthesia. Patients with any infection will usually be asked to wait until the infection has cleared up before having surgery. Antibiotics are often used to help expedite the healing of an oral infection.

The first step in having a wisdom tooth extracted is that the patient is given a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth is to be removed. It is recommended that you not eat or drink anything the night preceding surgery. This helps to better prepare you for accepting both local and sedation.

The actual procedure involves the oral surgeon opening up the gum tissue covering the tooth to remove any bone that may be covering the tooth. Once this has been accomplished the tooth can safely be removed. Sutures are then applied to close the initial incision. Today surgeons have access to dissolving stitches that will simply disappear over time. Some stitches must be removed a few days after the surgical procedure. A cotton gauze pad will be used to cover the wound to help reduce bleeding and absorb any bleeding that does occur.

Who can perform wisdom teeth removal surgery?

The best recommendation is for you to see an oral surgeon. Oral surgeons have seen it all, and if any complications arise during surgery, it will not be a surprise to them. A general dentist may be capable of performing wisdom teeth removal surgery, but wisdom teeth surgery has a high complication rate if not done by an experienced surgeon. Be sure to pick one who performs this type of surgery often. 


What do you need to do before dental surgery?

Not much preparation is needed for wisdom teeth removal surgery because it is an outpatient procedure. An outpatient procedure means that you get to go home the same day as the surgery, but you should always ask your surgeon how to prepare for the surgery if you have any questions. Here is a list of questions to ask your surgeon to prepare you for your operation: 

. Do I need a bone graft?

Bone grafts reduce bone and jaw shrinkage in teeth closest to the surgical site. Bone grafting is recommended for bone augmentation and pocket preservation. These procedures help to preserve the bone for possible implant placement in the future.

. Should I fast before the surgery? If so, when should you begin?

It depends on which anesthesia the surgeon will be using. If local anesthesia will use its best to have a light meal in your stomach a few hours before the surgery begins. This helps to ensure that your blood sugar levels are kept up and maintained while the procedure is taking place. If you are using any other type of anesthesia with sedation, it is best to go into surgery on an empty stomach.

. Should someone drive you home?

It is recommended that someone drives you back just to be safe. Ask your surgeon about the effects of anesthesia and how long it will last. It also helps to ask if you can take your prescription medications before the procedure and what medications you should avoid taking entirely.


Avoid Vigorous Activity

A factor that will determine how quickly the recovery processes will be included how severe the wisdom tooth impaction was at the time of removal. Those who have had wisdom tooth surgery should plan to rest and avoid substantial activity for at least the first few days. Always keep in mind that any activity for the first week following surgery that might dislodge or disrupt a blood clot should be avoided.

Patients may take over-the-counter pain medication or prescription medication as directed. Swelling is a normal part of the post-surgical experience when having teeth extracted. Placing an ice pack on the outside of the face over the jaw area can help reduce any swelling. Going back and forth between hot and cold compresses can help to reduce inflammation and ease any ongoing discomfort.


The First 24 Hours After Wisdom Teeth Removal

It is essential to follow your oral surgeon or dentist’s instructions following surgery as a way to care for your mouth throughout the recovery period. Patients will likely be advised not to floss, brush, or rinse for the first 24 hours after wisdom tooth extraction surgery. Following the early 24 hours, it is usually okay to brush gently and rinse with a solution of warm water and salt as frequently as possible. This will keep the site of the surgical procedure clean and help to avoid infection.

Also, eating soft foods is always a good idea following surgery. This includes foods like cottage cheese, applesauce, yogurt, and any other type of soft food that will not interfere with the healing process. Eventually, patients can move into a diet that includes semi-soft foods and, finally, solid foods. While recovery will take several days, there may still be discomfort and swelling as long as a week or two out following surgery. The consistent use of ice packs along with frequently rinsing with warm salty water will help to facilitate healing. If you experience any unusual symptoms or side effects following surgery, call your oral surgeon as soon as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns about tooth extraction or any oral surgery procedure, please contact our office. We offer free consultation and X-ray for our patients.

Does it hurt to get your wisdom teeth removed?

Most cases the recovery period is only a few short days. Some patients may be prescribed painkillers as a way to better deal with any postsurgical pain.

One of the first things to expect following wisdom tooth extraction surgery is to be asked to bite gently on a gauze pad. This is done to soak up any excess blood.  If bleeding continues for more than 24 hours following surgery it is important to contact your surgeon as soon as possible.

Patients should be cautious not to bite on the inside of their lip or cheek or even their tongue following surgery. This is a concern because the mouth will continue to be numb for a few hours following surgery when anesthesia has been used. Unnecessary injury can occur if persistent biting happens while the mouth is still numb. Also, your dental care provider will typically recommend that you not lie flat following surgery. This can cause bleeding to be prolonged. It is best to prop up your head with pillows or sleep in a recliner chair.

Some patients will find considerable relief from applying ice packs to the outside of the cheek. Applying ice for about 20 minutes at a time in the first 24 hours minimize the swelling after surgery. Physical activity is not recommended and may increase bleeding or cause further complications.

What can I eat after wisdom teeth removal?

It is recomended to eat soft foods following oral surgery for two days. Pudding, Gelatin, and warm soups are best. Patients can slowly add solid foods to their diet as the healing process continues to progress. Avoid hot foods and never use a straw to drink liquids within the first few days of surgery. The negative pressure caused by sucking on a straw can cause blood clots to loosen thereby ultimately delaying healing.

How long after wisdom teeth removal can I brush my teeth?

Patients should not smoke following oral surgery as this can also cause negative pressure that may loosen a blood clot in the mouth. Smoking also decreases blood supply and can add unwanted contaminants to the affected surgical area.

Patients should continue to brush their teeth normally but do so in a careful and cautious way. Avoid rubbing the surgical wound with your tongue and never touch the area with your fingers. This can disrupt the healing process and introduce unwanted bacteria potentially causing an infection.

Finally, after the first day following surgery, most surgeons will recommend rinsing gently with warm salt water several times daily. This helps to reduce swelling and relieve chronic pain. Patients can quickly make a simple mixture of salt and water by mixing one teaspoon of salt with about 8 ounces of warm water. This combination is intended to cleanse the site of the surgical wound. As a note of caution, patients should avoid rinsing too vigorously or too hard as this could loosen a blood clot and delay healing. Talk with your dental care provider to learn more about wisdom tooth removal surgery.