Getting Your Wisdom Teeth Out: Five Things Everyone Should Know

March 20, 2018 by Dr. Andrew Smyth  •  Original Post

Wisdom teeth are the third and last molars on each side of the upper and lower jaws. They are also the final teeth to erupt; they usually appear when a person is in their late teens or early twenties.

Signs & Symptoms

Wisdom teeth that only partially emerge or come in crooked can also lead to painful crowding and disease. Because teeth removed before age 20 have less developed roots and fewer complications, the American Dental Association recommends that people between 16 and 19 have their wisdom teeth evaluated to see if they need to be removed.

Getting your wisdom teeth out is a pretty common occurrence; many people have the surgery as teenagers or young adults. That being said, it is still a major procedure that requires a decent amount of recovery time. So before you head to your appointment, here are five key things everybody should know before the extraction.

Bring a Buddy

Make sure you bring someone with you to the dentist or oral maxillofacial surgeon's office. This is not just for moral support, but because you will be medicated during the surgery, as well.

First you will receive a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed. Then, depending on the number of teeth you are having removed or if the tooth is impacted or erupted you may receive a general anesthetic, which will cause you to sleep through the surgery.

Everyone reacts to the anesthesia differently, but you won't feel like yourself right away and you certainly won't be able to drive yourself home. Typically, the effects of the medication will wear off in a few hours.

Keep your head raised

Swelling is a natural reaction after surgery. Typically, it reaches its peak about 24 hours after the procedure and then starts to subside. In addition to placing a cold compact on the swollen area, you should keep your head raised. This will pull any fluids away from your head and keep the swelling under control.

Get plenty of rest

Chances are you'll need some pain medication after the anesthesia wears off. You should take it easy while using these sometimes heavy drugs, so why not use it as an excuse to catch up on some rest? Getting plenty of sleep will only help the healing process.

Stock up on soft foods

It's important not to aggravate the treated area so it can properly heal and avoid infection. You should keep your food choices limited to soft things like applesauce and lukewarm soups. So if you haven't already, be sure to stock your cupboards and refrigerator with the right foods.

Skip the toothbrush for a day

As much as you'll want to clean your mouth after the surgery, you have to resist the urge to brush your teeth for the first day. Even rinsing and spitting is a no-no. If you really need some relief, take a damp cloth and wipe your tongue and around the inside of your mouth. Just be sure to avoid your stitches. You can also take some gauze to absorb any blood.

These tips will help you have a successful experience and recovery before, during, and after getting your wisdom teeth out.

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We're a full time family-based Fredericton dentist office offering all aspects of dentistry. Our dental practice offers personal attention, commitment to excellence and a no-nonsense approach to oral health. Our number one priority is your comfort and satisfaction. Your individual needs are always considered and your choices always respected.