Wisdom for Teeth

Often, one of the most dreaded things about turning 16, is having wisdom teeth removed.

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars to the back of the mouth. These teeth may be misaligned and they may need to be removed. Dentists typically recommend that wisdom teeth are removed between ages 16-17. Sometimes, the teeth can move and position themselves to be horizontal, then they can move either towards or away from the other teeth. If they are moving towards the other teeth, they can cause crowding in the mouth. If the tooth is partially erupted out of the gums, this leaves an area open for infection.

If the tooth if fully erupted through the gum, it can easily be removed such as any other tooth would be. Though, if the tooth is still under the gum and inside of the jawbone, it will require a cut into the gums to take out the part of the bone that lies on top of the tooth.

Typically, the area around the tooth is numbed with some sort of anesthetic. Sometimes, the surgeon may decide to sedate the patient, in order to handle the anxiety. If someone were to be sedated, they will need to have someone to drive them home.

The recovery time for wisdom teeth is dependent on the person. For the first 24 hours there is quite a bit of bleeding from the gashes, keeping gauze on these areas will help to stop the bleeding. There will be a lot of facial swelling for the first few days, but applying ice for 20 minutes on and then 20 minutes off, for the first 24 hours will help to decrease the swelling.

To relieve discomfort and pain, it is important to take medicine regularly. Often, people are prescribed hydrocodone for pain. It is a good idea to also take ibuprofen, alternating between the two medicines.

For the first day, there is a strict liquid diet. Applesauce, ice cream, soup, jello, pudding, mashed potatoes, yogurt, smoothies, and milkshakes are some good things to eat the first day of wisdom teeth removal. The next few days, the diet can start moving to soft foods.  

Continue brushing teeth as normal, however avoid the area of extraction. Rinse the extraction sites twice a day with warm water in a syringe. Rinse the mouth with warm salt water after every meal.

Be sure to check for signs of dry sockets, as they can be very painful and irritating. If the bone is visible at the extraction site, there is no visible blood clot, a very unpleasant taste, and foul breath, it is a good idea to speak with the oral surgeon, and have them check for dry sockets.

“When I had mine out I was pretty swollen. I didn’t get dry sockets but I mean it still hurt a lot.” says Natalie Waugaman, Urbandale High School Junior.


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A set of impacted wisdom teeth, via Charleston Dentist.

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