Wisdom Teeth Removal: Surgery & Aftercare

No, you won’t become a fool when your wisdom teeth come out. But you can be wise about how you approach your wisdom teeth removal.

If you need to have your wisdom teeth removed, you might be experiencing a good amount of fear, especially if you’ve never had oral surgery before.

Hopefully, this article can calm your nerves by showing you the steps involved and exactly how safe the procedure is.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

As distinguished as their name makes them sound, wisdom teeth are really just molars. Most people get them in their late teens to early 20s. If they are aligned properly, they can be a helpful set of additional molars.

But most of the time, they grown in crooked and can negatively affect the other teeth if they are not removed. Wisdom teeth can come in misaligned any which way. They can even be impacted, meaning they are enclosed inside the soft tissue or the jawbone. And sometimes they will only partially break through gum tissue, leaving an opening that invites bacteria.

If wisdom teeth are not aligned straight up and down or are impacted, a dentist or surgeon will most likely have to remove them.

Wisdom teeth are simply extra molars that sometimes grow in crookedly.

Wisdom Teeth Extraction Procedure

Now for the part you may be worried about: the procedure. Here’s the step-by-step guide for what will happen during the wisdom tooth removal surgery.

Wisdom Teeth Surgery Step by Step

woman at dental officeFirst, the area surrounding the wisdom teeth and the teeth themselves will be numbed with anesthesia. The surgeon may decide to sedate you as well, although you can request this if you’d like. Being asleep during the surgery is especially good for people who are anxious about the whole procedure.

If the tooth has not broken through the gum tissue, the surgeon will first need to make a small cut to access the tooth. If any bone is covering the tooth, they will have to remove that as well.

Often, the surgeon will have cut the tooth into smaller bits in order to fit them through the small incision. However, if the tooth as broken through, they won’t have to make an incision and can remove the tooth in larger chunks.

If this procedure is straightforward with no complications, it takes just a few minutes. If it’s a bit more involved, it still may only take about 20 minutes.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Pain

During the procedure, you shouldn’t feel any pain. As mentioned before, you will have gotten anesthesia and/or sedation before the surgery.

However, you will have some pain, swelling, and bleeding afterwards. Fortunately, the doctor will have prescribe powerful pain medication to help keep it in check.

The wisdom tooth removal procedure involves anesthesia, cleaning the surgical site, cutting the tooth in order to remove it from the gums, and then bandaging the area.

What To Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal

After you get your wisdom teeth removed, there are certain foods you should avoid as well as foods you should focus on eating more of.

For example, you should stay away from grainy foods are anything that could get stuck in the surgical sites. And you’ll need to wait at least a week before eating anything crunchy or chewy as that can bother the sensitive areas. Plus, you should avoid spicy and acidic foods because these can irritate the tender tissues.

Also, you should avoid using straws — the suction can dislodge the blood clots, which will slow down healing and could lead to dry sockets.

As for foods you can try after wisdom teeth removal, here’s a list of soft, non-spicy, and non-acidic food to try:

  • Applesauce
  • Ice cream (unless the coldness bothers the sensitive areas)
  • Soup (not too hot or spicy
  • Jell-O or pudding
  • Mash potatoes
  • Yogurt
  • Smoothies and milkshakes (no straw!)
  • Oatmeal
After getting your wisdom teeth removed, you should eat only soft foods that are non-spicy and non-acidic.

Wisdom Teeth Extraction Recovery Time And Aftercare

Before you leave the surgeon’s office, they will give you instructions on how to care for your teeth and mouth in the following days. The best thing you can do is follow their recommendations.

But what you can expect is to have some pain, swelling, and bleeding, and you’ll need to be careful not to disrupt the area so as to not dislodge the blood clot. Here are some things that you should not do during recovery:

  • Do not eat solid foods
  • Do not drink alcohol, coffee, soda, or any hot beverages during the first few days
  • Do not brush, floss, or rinse your teeth within the first 24 hours
  • Do not smoke

Typically, recover lasts anywhere from a few days to a week. During that time, here are things you can do to help your body heal:

  • Rest for at least the first day
  • Avoid doing anything strenuous, anything that could dislodge the clot
  • Take prescription pain medication
  • Put an ice pack on your jaw over the surgical site
  • After the first day, gently rinse your mouth with salt water
  • Eat soft foods

Other than that, follow the surgeons specific aftercare instructions.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Complications

Just like any type of surgery, complications may occur. And this may or may not be related to the expertise of the doctor.

With wisdom teeth removal, some of the main complications include:

  • Dry socket
  • Nerve injury
  • Infection

Dry socket is when the blood clot fails to form on the surgical site or becomes dislodged. It’s the most common type of complication and usually happens 3 to 5 days after surgery.

It can lead to an aching and throbbing sensation and even a bad smell or taste in your mouth from the open wound.

This commonly happens if:

  • You don’t follow the doctor’s aftercare instructions
  • You’re a smoker
  • You’ve had dry socket before
  • You’re older than 25

In any case, tell your dentist or surgeon if you think you have dry socket.

Nerve injury is less common than dry socket, but still a possibility. It can cause tingling, pain, or even numbness around the surgical site, your tongue, lip, teeth, gums, and even chin. Usually, the nerve damage is temporary (a few weeks to a few months), although it’s possible to experience permanent damage in severe cases.

Again, tell your dentist or surgeon right away if you think you’ve experienced nerve damage from the wisdom tooth removal.

After getting your wisdom teeth removed, you should rest, manage the pain, and avoid solid foods, alcohol, coffee, and soda. And do not brush, floss, or rinse within the first 24 hours. Some possible complications include dry socket (failed blood clot) and nerve injury.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Cost

The cost of a simple wisdom tooth extraction can be as little as $99 per tooth removed. If the tooth is impacted, it can cost a bit more, between $230 and $340 or more. The total cost will vary depending on the surgeon and the location.

Also, you should contact your dental insurance company ahead of time to see how much of the procedure they will cover. And you can also look into a dental discount plan, which can save you up to 60% on most dental services.

A wisdom tooth removal can cost between $100 and about $400, depending on the complexity of the procedure.

Summary

Getting your wisdom teeth removed is an inconvenient yet necessary thing to do. Hopefully, this guide will make the process less inconvenient for you.