What to Expect from Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Learn what is involved in a wisdom tooth extraction and how we care for patients each step of the way.
Wisdom teeth were designed to replace decayed molars that early humans typically lost relatively early in life. However, with modern dental care we no longer need these replacement teeth. In fact, they can actually cause many problems, including overcrowding and decay. If your wisdom teeth are painful, decayed, or likely to push your other teeth out of alignment, you may need to get them extracted.
If your dental x-rays show problems with your wisdom teeth or adjacent teeth, or you have pain, we will definitely want you to explore the possibility of wisdom tooth extraction. We will explain the procedure in detail so that you understand the risks and benefits and can make an informed decision about your care.
Because we have talented oral surgeons on staff, you don’t have to go to an unfamiliar office and deal with a whole new group of people for your surgery. Instead, you will be welcomed by caring staff you already know. We will make sure you are properly sedated prior to the procedure so that you will not be aware of any pain from the extraction. During the actual surgery the dentist will:
- Make an incision in the gums (in the case of an unerupted tooth)
- Remove the tooth, possibly dividing it into sections if needed
- Clean the site and remove any tooth or bone fragments
- Cover the extraction site with gauze to help a blood clot form
Following your wisdom tooth extraction, you will be sent home with detailed instructions for aftercare along with a prescription for medication to ease any pain and prevent infection. Some typical aftercare instructions include:
Rest: Plan to take it easy for the rest of the day following your surgery. Also, try to avoid any strenuous activity for about a week. This will help prevent the blood clot from becoming dislodged from the extraction site.
Drinking: Avoid hot drinks, soda, caffeine, and alcohol for 24 hours after your wisdom tooth extraction. Also, avoid drinking with a straw for about a week because this could make the wound open up.
Eating: You will definitely be restricted to soft foods for 24 hours after surgery. Start adding semisoft foods as you are able to tolerate them, but avoid anything hot or spicy.
Cleaning: This is the only situation where a dentist is going to tell you NOT to brush your teeth. Don’t do any type of cleaning for 24 hours after surgery. Then, you can begin cleaning your mouth by gently rinsing with warm salt water every few hours. You can start brushing after 24 hours but be very gentle around the extraction site.
Complications: If you experience any problems such as severe pain, fever, or worsening swelling, call your dentist immediately.
We will call you after your surgery to check in and see how you’re doing and answer any questions you may have.