The wisdom teeth, also known as the third molars, are the final set of molars to grow in or erupt. Not everyone keeps these teeth, nor are they necessary for having a healthy, beautiful smile. In fact, they can cause harm if they do not come in properly. When these molars come in, usually between the ages of 16 and 20, there may not be enough room left for them to erupt. As a result, they can emerge at an angle, they may crowd the mouth and sometimes they don't fully emerge. This can lead to future oral health problems like infections and pain.
You should have your wisdom teeth checked before age 20 to see how the wisdom teeth are developing and erupting. If necessary, a dentist or an oral surgeon can remove the final molars in a single outpatient procedure. Wisdom extraction could be a form of major surgery. General anesthesia or local anesthesia options are used to make wisdom teeth removal a more comfortable procedure, pain and discomfort are a part of the process, especially after the anesthesia wears off. After your teeth are removed, wisdom teeth recovery time begins.
After getting your wisdom teeth removed, you are likely to experience pain and swelling. There may be some bleeding. While your mouth heals, you have to be careful not to dislodge the blood clot or harm your healing gums. You should not consume solid foods, alcohol, coffee, cold drinks or hot beverages in the first few days following your procedure. You shouldn't even brush your teeth for 24 hours after the procedure. Recovery time from this procedure is typically three to four days, although it can be as long as one week. The length of recovery depends a lot on how badly the wisdom teeth were impacted (lying crooked) and how they were erupting.
There are plenty of things you can do to make the recovery time easier. Plan on taking it easy for a few days; you can resume your normal activities after the first day in most cases, but for about a week you don't want to do anything that could dislodge the blood clot from where your teeth were removed. For the pain, you can take a prescription pain killer given to you by your oral surgeon or recommended over-the-counter pain relievers. To help with the swelling, place an ice pack over your jaw. The cold helps to reduce the inflammation and ease any discomfort.
Your dentist or oral surgeon should instruct you on how to take care of your mouth for the recovery period. You may be told to avoid brushing, spitting, flossing and rinsing for 24 hours. After that, you can gently brush your teeth. Rinse your mouth with salt water frequently to help keep it clean and prevent an infection. Stock up on soup, yoghurt, cottage cheese and other soft foods. You will want to eat a soft-food diet for the first day or more and then slowly move to semi-soft foods when you are ready.
If you notice any unusual symptoms like pus discharge, severe pain or a fever, call your oral surgeon right away. While complications such as an infection are rare, they are possible.