Wisdom Teeth FAQs
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are your third molars located in the back of your mouth. They usually are the last to develop.
At what age do people get wisdom teeth?
Most people get their wisdom teeth in their late teens or early twenties, but it is also possible to develop wisdom teeth as a pre-teen or as an older adult.
Does everyone have wisdom teeth?
No, not everyone gets wisdom teeth. While many people get all four of their wisdom teeth, some people may only develop three, two or even just one.
What are some symptoms of wisdom teeth?
Some symptoms of wisdom teeth are pain in the jaw, tenderness, swelling around the gums, discharge if an abscess or infection is present, or you can see it poking through the gum behind your second molar. Some people, however, don’t have any visible or noticeable symptoms of wisdom teeth pain.
Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
If they are impacted and or cause crowding in your teeth, it is recommended that they be removed to avoid damaging the surrounding teeth. If they grow in correctly positioned, healthy and function properly, it is not necessary to have them removed.
What are impacted wisdom teeth?
A wisdom tooth is considered impacted if there is not enough room after the second molar for the tooth to emerge or develop normally.
What are some problems that can arise if I do not remove my wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth, if not grown properly, can cause further dental problems, including damage to surrounding teeth, jaw damage (cyst growth), inflamed/infected gum tissues, cavities, alignment problems, or sinus issues.
Why are wisdom teeth more difficult to remove than other teeth?
Wisdom teeth do not often grow in like your other teeth. If they are impacted, they have a more angled position and will need to be sectioned into pieces when extracted. If the tooth is not yet erupted, it will also require Dr. Alijanian to make an incision in the tissue before accessing the tooth.
In addition, we also have to consider the wisdom teeth’s root anatomy. Wisdom teeth typically have multiple roots and they can be shaped in a variety of ways, as well as grow separately or fused together. Teeth with irregularly shaped roots or curvature can be more difficult, especially on the lower jaw, because of its relativity to the nerve.
How much will it cost to get my wisdom teeth removed?
Every case varies because the treatment is dependent on the position and complexity of each tooth. We also take into consideration dental insurance. For more information on wisdom teeth costs, please contact our office.
How long does local anesthesia last?
The numbing effects of the local anesthetic marcaine will last about 8 – 10 hours so it will give the patient some time to take pain medications on a full stomach.
Can I be sedated during my wisdom teeth removal?
Sedation is an option for wisdom teeth removal; however, Dr. Alijanian will want to review your health history, allergies and medications before proceeding with his treatment recommendation.
How is the sedation administered?
Sedation is administered through an intravenous (IV) line in your arm. Once injected, the patient will fall asleep and is completely unaware of the procedure being performed. Supplemental oxygen is delivered through a nasal breathing apparatus.
What types of medications are administered for sedation?
Medications most commonly used are Fentanyl, Versed, Ketamine and Diprivan. For more information on anesthesia and sedation, please visit our Anesthesia Page.
Will an anesthesiologist be present?
Dr. Alijanian is a board certified anesthesiologist, having completed the required anesthesiology schooling, training and evaluation required and continues to maintain his education in order to administer anesthesia in the office. In addition to Dr. Alijanian’s expertise, two of our certified surgical assistants are in the room with Dr. Alijanian throughout the entire procedure monitoring the patient’s vital signs and breathing.
Will I feel pain during the procedure?
Depending on the complexity of the extraction, there are different anesthetic options that could be administered during the procedure to minimize the pain and discomfort during the extraction. Please visit our Anesthesia Page to review the different options available for our patients and procedures usually associated with each method.
What is the recovery period for wisdom teeth extractions?
We usually estimate 7-10 days for a recovery period, however some people may experience shorter or longer recovery times. Ultimately, it is all dependent on the patient.
What should I take to alleviate the pain after my extractions?
Following the after-care instructions given to you by our assistants will help make the recovery process easier. We recommend icing 30 minutes on, 30 minutes off. Depending on your health/medical history, we may also prescribe pain medication to use after wisdom teeth removal.
Will I have sutures (stitches) where the wisdom teeth were removed?
Not everyone gets sutures placed, but if you do, they will dissolve on their own within a couple of weeks. If, after a few weeks, your stitches are still present and need to be removed, please contact our office to have them taken out.
I have something white and sharp poking out of the gum near where the extraction was. Should I be concerned?
After surgical extractions, patients may discover tooth or pieces of the bone working their way to the surface of the extraction site (known as a “bone spur”). Don’t worry – this is a common occurrence. When the tooth is being extracted, pieces of the tooth’s bony socket may break off during the process. These slivers cannot be integrated into the healing tissues so your body will naturally begin to eject them, causing them to penetrate through the gum tissue. They typically will fall out on their own if given enough time. If not, please give our office a call and Dr. Alijanian can easily remove the fragment.
Will I have nerve damage?
While nerve damage is a potential complication associated with wisdom teeth removal, Dr. Alijanian will do his best to minimize that possibility. Panoramic x-rays are used to evaluate the wisdom teeth position because not only are we able to see the root tips, but we are also able to see where your nerve is. If the root is close to the nerve, Dr. Alijanian may opt to perform a Coronectomy. This is where the crown of the tooth is removed, but the roots are left intact. In doing this, the roots will heal over with the bone and eventually move away from the root.
What are dry sockets?
Once the tooth is removed, there is a hole in the bone called a socket. A blood clot forms in that area to protect the bone and nerves underneath. If that clot becomes dislodged or aggravated, it will cause the bone and nerve to be exposed to air, fluids and food, causing an infection – or a dry socket.
How do I know if I have a dry socket?
Dry sockets typically occur three to four days after wisdom teeth removal. Some symptoms include pain that radiates to your ear and is not alleviated after taking pain medication, bad breath or an unpleasant taste/smell in your mouth.
Will I swell after my wisdom teeth are removed?
After wisdom teeth removal, it is normal to experience swelling and bruising. The swelling usually improves after a few days while the bruising may take a few more to clear up. Use the ice pack as directed by our office.
Can I brush my teeth after getting my wisdom teeth removed?
Avoid brushing your teeth for the first 24 hours. After that, you may begin to brush your teeth, but be sure to be gentle around the extraction sites (try to avoid as much as possible).
Can I gargle after getting my wisdom teeth removed?
Avoid gargling for the first 24 hours. Following that, you are able to SWISH LIGHTLY with warm salt water or mouth wash, but do not vigorously gargle until you are cleared to do so at your follow up appointment.
What can I eat after my wisdom teeth are removed?
Immediately following surgery, we recommend starting off with clear liquids like 7-up, apple juice and water. If the patient is able to handle the clear liquids well, then we recommend doing a dairy base (especially before taking any pain medications). This includes ice cream, milkshakes (without a straw), yogurt, pudding and cottage cheese.
From there, we recommend sticking with soft, cooler foods including (but not limited to) apple sauce, mashed potatoes, mac ‘n cheese, steamed vegetables, well-cooked pasta, cream of wheat, soft fish, smooth soups, pancakes, canned fruit, beans and scrambled eggs.
Foods to avoid would include spicy foods, anything with seeds, hard or chewy foods (like chips or crackers), acidic foods and drinks, and anything with small particles (for example – broccoli).
Can I work out after getting my wisdom teeth removed?
We recommend waiting three-four days following wisdom teeth removal to exercise or participate in any vigorous activity. Exercising too early could aggravate the blood clot and increase your recovery time as well as discomfort.
Can I travel after getting my wisdom teeth removed?
We recommend waiting at least a day or two following wisdom teeth removal to travel (as mentioned, third or fourth day is the peak of discomfort). However, it is safe to fly after or travel after surgery (it will not affect your bleeding or healing process).
Can I smoke after getting my wisdom teeth removed?
We recommend waiting 48 hours to smoke. A blood clot needs to develop over the extraction site in order to heal and the act of inhaling will cause it to burst. This could delay the healing process and potentially lead to dry sockets.