Wisdom tooth removal is a common procedure. Your third molars make an appearance in your latter teen years or your early 20s. Some people won’t have an issue with these molars, while others will have what are called impacted wisdom teeth.
Impacted wisdom teeth almost always need to be removed, as they’ll cause issues with your smile if left intact. As our jaws get smaller through evolution, we have less room for our wisdom teeth, and the majority of people will need to have them taken out.
What should you expect following a wisdom tooth extraction?
After Your Procedure
Generally, you’ll need someone to drive you home after your procedure. Some discomfort and swelling in the hours following your extraction are normal, and you may also taste some blood in your mouth .
You can use an ice pack for the swelling as directed by your dentist, and your dentist or oral surgeon will also let you know how often you can take pain medication or over-the-counter medication.
Following your procedure, you should plan to return home and rest. You should be able to return to your normal activities within two to three days, but in the meantime, give your body the rest it needs to heal!
Activities to Avoid
You should avoid eating hard foods or foods that are difficult to chew and only stick to soft foods for a few days following your procedure. It’s also a good idea to avoid alcohol, smoking, and caffeine, as these can all inhibit the healing process.
Light exercise is acceptable, but intense exercise should wait a few days. Spitting or using a straw should also be avoided, as these actions require suction in the mouth, which can dislodge the blood clots that are vital to the healing of your extraction site.
Brushing your teeth should also be avoided that first day and up to 24 hours following the procedure . Follow your dentist’s specific instructions for healing!
Signs and Symptoms to Watch Out For
Complete healing of your extraction sites can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, as the bone in your jaw will modify to compensate for the loss of the teeth. In the meantime, take care of your smile and be aware of the signs of a potential infection, which can occur even weeks after your procedure.
If you have a fever, pain that doesn’t go away with the recommended medication, or numbness, contact your dentist as soon as possible. An infection could also show signs such as white discharge in your oral cavity or additional swelling .
Have You Gotten Your Wisdom Teeth Evaluated?
The only way to know if your wisdom teeth are impacted is by getting an x-ray with your experienced dentist. He or she can let you know if your wisdom teeth are on track to come in properly or if they could require removal. Your dentist can let you know more about what to expect prior to your wisdom tooth extraction!