Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth, scientifically referred to as third molars, are situated at the rearmost part of your mouth. While a small percentage of people might never have any problems with their wisdom teeth, these molars, which emerge later in life, can cause discomfort, pain, and dental complications for many individuals. In this article, we'll explore what you can expect before and after wisdom teeth removal, helping you prepare for a smoother experience.

What is Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Wisdom teeth removal, also known as third molar extraction, is a dental surgical procedure performed to remove one or more of the third molars, commonly referred to as "wisdom teeth." These teeth are typically located at the back of the mouth and often require removal when they become impacted (trapped in the gums or jawbone), grow in a misaligned or problematic manner, or lead to oral health issues like infections, gum disease, or damage to neighboring teeth. A dentist or oral surgeon typically conducts the procedure under anesthesia, and the recovery process involves managing pain, swelling, and dietary restrictions while ensuring proper healing.

Why Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Wisdom teeth removal, also known as third molar extraction, is recommended for several reasons. Here are the key factors that may necessitate the removal of wisdom teeth:

  1. Impacted Wisdom Teeth: Wisdom teeth can become partially or fully trapped within the gums or jawbone, causing pain and discomfort.
  2. Misaligned Growth: Wisdom teeth may grow in a crooked or sideways manner, potentially affecting the alignment of your other teeth.
  3. Persistent Pain: Ongoing discomfort near the back of your mouth is a common indicator for wisdom teeth removal.
  4. Food and Debris Accumulation: Wisdom teeth often create spaces where food particles and debris can accumulate, leading to hygiene and infection concerns.
  5. Gum Disease Risk: Wisdom teeth can contribute to the development of gum disease, particularly around the molars.
  6. Tooth Decay in Partially Erupted Wisdom Teeth: Partially emerged wisdom teeth can be challenging to clean properly, increasing the risk of cavities.
  7. Cyst Formation: The presence of cysts around wisdom teeth can be a compelling reason for removal.
  8. Damage to Nearby Teeth or Bone: Wisdom teeth can sometimes cause damage to adjacent teeth or the surrounding bone, which may necessitate their removal.

Now that you understand the potential reasons for wisdom teeth removal, let's explore what to expect before, during, and after the procedure.

When Do Wisdom Teeth Come In?

Typically emerging between the ages of 17 and 21, these teeth can grow sideways, collide with adjacent tooth roots, or become trapped in the gum, resulting in painful infections and discomfort. Not all individuals possess wisdom teeth, as research indicates. According to one study, approximately 53% of the population possesses at least one wisdom tooth, while there are individuals who never develop wisdom teeth at all.

Before Wisdom Teeth Removal

Take the following steps before having your wisdom teeth removed to avoid situations that could be harmful.

Consultation with Your Dentist

The wisdom teeth removal process commences with an initial consultation with your dentist. During this crucial step, your healthcare provider will conduct a thorough evaluation of your oral health, discuss your symptoms, and utilize X-rays to determine the position and condition of your wisdom teeth.

Understanding the Need for Removal

Your dentist or oral surgeon will explain the reasons behind the recommendation for wisdom teeth removal. This ensures that you have a clear understanding of the necessity of the procedure and the potential benefits it can offer to your oral health.

Discussing Anesthesia Options

Wisdom teeth removal is typically performed under one of three types of anesthesia: local Painkillers, sedation, or general painkillers. The choice of anesthesia depends on the complexity of the procedure and your personal preferences. Your healthcare provider will discuss these options with you, guiding you to select the one that aligns with your needs and comfort level.

Preparing for the Procedure

Prior to the actual removal, there are some steps you can take to prepare yourself:

  • Arrange for transportation to and from the appointment, especially if you choose sedation or general anesthesia.
  • Follow any pre-operative instructions provided by your healthcare provider, which may include fasting for a specified period before the procedure.

After Wisdom Teeth Removal

You must be aware of what to do and not do after having your wisdom teeth removed in order to follow these rules during the crucial days and weeks.

Immediate Recovery

Following the procedure, you'll be relocated to a recovery area where you can gradually wake up from the effects of anesthesia if it is used. You will remain under observation until you are deemed stable enough to return home. During this time, your dentist or oral surgeon will provide post-operative instructions and may prescribe pain medication if necessary.

Managing Pain and Swelling

Pain and swelling are common after wisdom teeth removal. Over-the-counter pain relievers and prescribed medications can help manage discomfort. Applying ice packs to your cheeks for the first 24 hours can also effectively reduce swelling.

Eating and Drinking

For the initial days following surgery, it's advisable to adhere to a soft and cool diet. Avoid hot, spicy, or hard foods that could irritate the surgical site. Opt for softer options such as soups, smoothies, yogurt, and mashed potatoes.

Oral Hygiene

Maintaining meticulous oral hygiene is crucial during your recovery period. Your dentist will provide instructions on how to clean your mouth without disrupting the surgical site. Typically, this involves rinsing gently with warm salt water.

Follow-Up Appointments

Your healthcare provider will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your healing progress. During these visits, any stitches may be removed, and your dentist will ensure everything is healing as expected.


In conclusion, wisdom teeth removal is a common dental procedure that can provide relief from various oral health issues. By understanding the entire process, from the initial consultation to post-operative care, you can better prepare for a smoother and more comfortable experience.

With proper care and attention, you can minimize discomfort and ensure a seamless transition to a healthier, pain-free oral state. If you have any doubts or questions regarding wisdom teeth removal, don't hesitate to consult with your dental professionals at Universal Smiles Dentistry.