The wisdom teeth (third molars) are located in the back of the mouth, and they generally erupt, or become visible, between the ages of 17 and 25. There are usually four wisdom teeth, two on the upper jaw and two on the lower, but some people only have one or two, and some individuals have none. Not everyone needs to have these teeth removed, but in many cases there are benefits to having them extracted even if there is sufficient room in the mouth to house them. Impacted wisdom teeth are common. This is when the teeth lack room to fit comfortably within the jaw, grow at an angle rather than straight up, or otherwise become trapped and never erupt. Each of these situations can be the cause of discomfort, damage, and bite alignment issues. Dr. Donian Shen, our experienced dentist, can remove your wisdom teeth, helping to alleviate these concerns or prevent them from happening entirely.
Wisdom teeth removal generally requires local or general anesthesia, depending on the complexity of your treatment. If dental procedures give you anxiety, we offer sedation dentistry options to help make you feel more comfortable. Once the procedure is complete, you can generally return home the same day. You may experience some bleeding, bruising, and swelling, which is normal. These effects should subside quickly. You can use cold compresses to help minimize pain and swelling, and we will prescribe medication to help relieve discomfort. Dr. Shen will review the instructions for recovery with you, which include what you can and cannot eat and drink while healing, as well as how to care for the treated area.
It’s important to follow any instructions Dr. Shen provides. As a helpful reminder, here are some general guidelines for oral care following wisdom teeth removal:
- Don’t disturb the wound – Chew on untreated side of the mouth for 24 hours to avoid irritation or infection.
- Don’t smoke for 12 hours – Smoking can promote bleeding and prevent proper healing.
- Don’t spit, or suck through a straw – This could dislodge the blood clot, leading to dry sockets.
- Control bleeding – Use a pressure pack of gauze pads (we will show you how)
- Control swelling – Use cold compresses and rinse with warm saltwater to help reduce swelling.
- Take prescribed medication – We will provide anti-inflammatory medication that can help minimize discomfort and swelling.
- Choose soft foods – You should try to eat soft foods for a few days after the procedure, and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and hot beverages for at least 24 hours.
We strongly advise patients to schedule regular follow-up appointments with Dr. Shen after wisdom teeth removal. If you have any questions regarding this procedure – including risks, complications, outcome, or another concern – we are happy to help. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Shen.