Wisdom Teeth 101: Everything You Need to Know

What is Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of teeth to erupt, typically appearing in your late teens or early twenties.

While some wisdom teeth come in smoothly, causing no issues, others become impacted (stuck) or misaligned, leading to a variety of problems.

This article explores wisdom teeth when they might need removal, the recovery process, and what to expect after surgery.

When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Wisdom teeth removal is usually recommended if they cause:

  • Pain or discomfort
  • Impaction (stuck in the jawbone or gums)
  • Infection
  • Damage to surrounding teeth
  • Overcrowding
  • Risk of developing cysts or tumors (rare)

Your dentist or oral surgeon will recommend removal based on X-rays and a thorough examination.

Wisdom Teeth Recovery Timeline?

  • First 24 Hours: Expect swelling, discomfort, and some bleeding.
  • 3-5 Days: Swelling should begin to subside. Pain medications will help manage discomfort.
  • 7-10 Days: Sutures (stitches) may be removed. You should be able to resume most normal activities.
  • 2 Weeks: Healing should be progressing well.
  • Up to 6 Months: Complete healing can take several months, with some residual tenderness possible.

Activities to Avoid During the First 24 Hours

  • Strenuous activity
  • Smoking or vaping
  • Drinking through a straw (suction can dislodge blood clots)
  • Hot or spicy foods
  • Rinsing vigorously (gentle swishing with salt water is okay)

What foods can I eat after wisdom tooth extraction?

You should try to eat soft or liquid foods for a few days after surgery and avoid alcohol and beverages as that can be harmful when healing from wisdom tooth removal.

Foods to eat after wisdom tooth removal:
  • soups and broths that are not too hot
  • milkshakes and smoothies
  • oatmeal
  • applesauce
  • pudding
  • avocado
  • jelly
  • mashed banana
  • mashed beans, such as kidney beans, black beans, or butter beans
  • mashed sweet or regular potatoes
  • pureed or mashed vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, or broccoli
  • scrambled eggs
  • soft cheeses
  • yogurt
  • ice cream and frozen yogurt
Foods to avoid after wisdom tooth removal
  • hot or fizzy drinks
  • fruit juices, as acidic substances, may irritate the removal site or cause discomfort
  • seeds, peppercorns, and other spices with course remnants, which can get stuck in the wound
  • spicy foods
  • hard or sharp foods, such as chips and popcorn
  • nuts
  • alcohol

Activities to Avoid After 24 Hours Passed

  • Avoid strenuous activity for the first week.
  • Don’t brush too harshly near the extraction site.
  • Continue to avoid smoking or vaping for several weeks.

Problems often Linked to Impacted Wisdom Teeth

  • Pain and swelling
  • Infection
  • Damage to nearby teeth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Jaw problems
  • Development of cysts or tumors (rare)

FAQs

Do all wisdom teeth need to be removed?

Not necessarily. Wisdom teeth only require removal if they are causing problems or pose a risk to oral health. Your dentist will assess your individual case and recommend the appropriate course of action.

Is wisdom teeth removal painful?

While some discomfort is normal after the procedure, advancements in anesthesia and sedation techniques ensure that patients are kept comfortable during the extraction process.

How long does it take to recover from wisdom teeth removal?

The recovery time varies from person to person, but most individuals can expect to resume normal activities within a week or two following the procedure.

Can impacted wisdom teeth cause headaches?

Yes, impacted wisdom teeth can cause headaches due to pressure on adjacent teeth and surrounding tissues. Removal of impacted wisdom teeth may alleviate associated headaches.

What happens if I don’t remove my wisdom teeth?

Leaving impacted wisdom teeth untreated can lead to various oral health problems, including infection, cyst formation, and damage to adjacent teeth. It’s essential to consult with a dental professional to determine the best course of action.

Can wisdom teeth removal affect speech?

In some cases, swelling and temporary changes in mouth structure post-extraction may affect speech, but these effects are typically short-term and resolve as healing progresses.

How can I prepare for wisdom teeth removal?

Your dental professional will provide pre-operative instructions, which may include fasting before the procedure and arranging for transportation home afterward. Be sure to follow these instructions carefully to ensure a smooth experience.

How long does the surgery take?

The surgery itself typically takes 30-45 minutes per wisdom tooth, but the entire appointment may last longer.

What are the risks of wisdom teeth removal?

Infection is a potential risk, but following post-operative instructions helps minimize this. There’s also a small risk of nerve damage or bleeding.

At Parkway Dental and Implants, we understand the importance of comprehensive dental care, particularly when it comes to procedures like wisdom teeth removal. We offer personalized and compassionate care to ensure a comfortable experience for each patient. 

With advanced technology and expertise, we offer efficient and effective wisdom teeth removal services tailored to meet individual needs. From initial consultation to post-operative care, We prioritize patient well-being, aiming to alleviate discomfort and promote optimal oral health.

Trust us to handle your wisdom teeth removal with precision and care, ensuring a smooth and successful procedure.