Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last of your “big” teeth to erupt. Because our mouths no longer can accommodate the additional teeth (the human jaw is not as developed/large as it was decades in the past) in our mouths, most dentists recommend removing wisdom teeth. Other reasons for a recommendation for removal include:
- Wisdom teeth come in at an angle
- Wisdom teeth don’t fully erupt
Both of these reasons crowd existing teeth, often are painful, and produce problems for the teeth next door — the second molars.
While extraction of wisdom teeth is similar to other tooth removals, there are some aspects that make this surgical procedure different. Primarily, the timing of removal is a critical element in when wisdom teeth extraction occurs. Dentists recommend removal of wisdom teeth before the roots have fully formed. Thus, timing is important. Most often, young people between the ages of 15-18 – high school aged – are the best candidates. Teeth roots are still forming, making removal easier than those teeth whose roots have been firmly embedded in the jaw for years. Also, high school years typically allow for time to have the surgery and not miss school. Planning for wisdom teeth removal during summer vacation simplifies the time needed for recovery.
Once the decision for removal is made, either an oral surgeon or a dentist with extensive experience in wisdom teeth extraction at Layton Lakes Dental should be contacted and appointments scheduled. Consultation with your chosen provider at Salt River Dental should include discussion of what sedation is used (local or IV), what recovery time is required, and what you can/cannot do while recovering: what you can eat, activities, and conditions to note that may require contacting your provider should complications arise.
Simply put, follow these guidelines:
- Rest is essential; plan on relaxing for 3 days minimum after surgery
- Limit food intake to liquids in first 24 hours and soft foods (yogurt, applesauce) for subsequent 48 hours
- No straws, sucking, or swishing of liquids or teeth brushing for 3 days
- Keep your head elevated for the first 3 days after surgery; this assists healing
- Don’t dislodge the blood clot that develops in socket. Doing so can delay healing and risks development of a dry socket — a painful and recovery-delaying circumstance.
- Ice packs can ease post-surgical discomfort; place on your jaw/cheek
- Pain relievers – take prescribed pain relievers in moderation
If pain is excessive longer than a day after extraction, if fever or chills develop, if pus develops around socket, or excessive bleeding occurs, call your provider right away!