If you are nearing the point where you or your children will need to go through wisdom teeth removals, it is normal to have questions and concerns about the procedure.
The good news is that wisdom teeth removals are one of the most common operating procedures for dentists and oral surgeons. Most people will have to go through a wisdom tooth extraction at some point in their lives, and it is rare to have any complications or issues after the surgery — especially if you follow the proper aftercare recommendations from your dental professional.
In this post, we will explain the basics of wisdom teeth removals and why they are important. We’ll also walk you through the day of the surgery and the recovery process afterward, as well as answering some frequently asked questions that we receive from patients here at Dr. Simon Pong in Oakville.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave a message below or contact our team for more information.
Why Wisdom Teeth Removals Are Important
Your wisdom teeth are the molars located at the very back of your mouth, on both your top and bottom jaw. Your wisdom teeth will typically come in during your late teens or early twenties.
Wisdom teeth can be either impacted or erupted. If your teeth are impacted, it means they have not emerged through the gum line yet. Impacted wisdom teeth will typically need to be removed when there is a risk of them becoming infected.
For some people, wisdom teeth will grow in normally and will not require any surgery. However, for most individuals, a wisdom tooth extraction is a common oral surgery procedure that will have to happen at some point when you are a young adult.
Wisdom teeth removal typically becomes necessary when your wisdom teeth are causing discomfort or complications, such as infections in the mouth. At Dr. Simon Pong Dentistry, we can provide a consultation with x-rays to let you know if this procedure will be necessary.
The Surgical Procedure for a Wisdom Tooth Extraction
The actual procedure for a wisdom tooth extraction will generally not take any longer than a couple of hours under local anesthetic (freezing)
You may opt to have sedation for the surgery in the form of laughing gas or oral sedation, which your dentist or oral surgeon will typically discuss with you prior to the operation. In some cases, patients will have the option to choose between local or general anesthesia.
If you select a general anesthetic, you should expect to wake up feeling disoriented and you may have trouble remembering where you are. In these situations, your dental professional will usually ask you to have a friend or family member available to drive you home, as the effects of the anesthetic may take some time to wear off completely.
You will typically be given a prescription for a common painkiller to help with pain management for the first few days post-surgery. Most patients will find that they can stop taking these roughly 24 to 48 hours following the operation.
The Recovery Process for Wisdom Teeth Removals
One of the most common questions that we hear both prior to and following a wisdom tooth extraction is: how long is it going to take to recover?
The average patient will recover from their wisdom tooth extraction within three to seven days, depending on whether or not your wisdom teeth were impacted prior to the surgery.
While you are recovering, it is very important to continue to protect yourself from the risk of infection until your mouth is completely healed, which may take up to several months.
You should gently rinse your mouth with saltwater, several times per day after the area has healed for 24 hours, and then daily as your recovery progresses. You may also need to dab the wound with cotton wool to soak up excess blood or press an ice pack to your cheek, in order to reduce swelling in the area.
During this time period, it is strongly recommended that you avoid hard foods and refrain from smoking, spitting, drinking through a straw, or other activities that could disturb your stitches.
Foods to Avoid & Foods to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removals
As with most major dental procedures, it is strongly recommended that you stick to eating foods that won’t require much chewing for the first few days after your wisdom tooth extraction.
Chewing may disturb your stitches and lengthen your recovery time. Try to avoid foods that are hard or crunchy, as well as any hot soups or drinks that may burn the area around the wound.
Here are some great options for food to eat after your wisdom tooth extraction:
- Scrambled Eggs
- Soups & Broths, lukewarm temperature
- Mashed Potatoes
- Apple Sauce
- Pasta, avoid spicy tomato sauce
The Risk of Dry Sockets
One of the main risks after wisdom teeth removal is developing what is called a ‘dry socket’. This is what happens when the blood clot over the wound and the stitches is dislodged, leading to an increased risk of infection.
Dry sockets are typically caused by a suction effect in the mouth, which is why dentists will recommend that you avoid smoking, drinking through a straw, or even spitting forcefully. All of these activities can cause suction that may dislodge your blood clots.
Dry sockets are incredibly painful and can greatly prolong the recovery period, even if they do not cause an infection. While it may be tempting to break your regimen, we recommend that you do everything possible to avoid them.
More Frequently Asked Questions
How much does wisdom teeth removal cost?
The cost of a wisdom tooth extraction may vary widely, depending on the number of teeth that need to be removed, whether or not the teeth are currently impacted, and what type of anesthesia is selected for you.
It is typically more difficult and time-consuming to remove impacted wisdom teeth, which is why it will be more expensive in this regard. However, wisdom teeth removals are often covered by dental insurance plans. Our staff will help you determine whether you are eligible for insurance coverage.
Can wisdom teeth grow back after extraction?
No, your wisdom teeth will not grow back after your extraction. Most people will only have four wisdom teeth, however, a small percentage of the population will have extra wisdom teeth, which may emerge later in life. So while your wisdom teeth cannot grow back, it is possible to have more than the usual number.