Getting your wisdom teeth is a sure sign of adulthood, as most start seeing them when they are between 18 and 30 years old. Some never get their wisdom teeth, but most get them younger than older.
You can use recovery time from a wisdom tooth extraction to eat some of your favorite soft foods. You can start returning to your normal diet a week after the extraction.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are those that come in the back of the mouth. They are molars and may or may not be removed. It depends on whether they cause dental problems. Not all wisdom teeth cause issues but some can be impacted, where it sets into the gum or another tooth causing pain. Wisdom teeth can also crowd out other teeth, causing them to become crooked, or make crevices that can lead to decay and infection. They can also cause some chewing problems and even bad breath.
Some people don’t like the feeling of wisdom teeth even if they don’t cause significant dental problems. They could cause some bite issues because they create a fuller mouth that can throw your bite off. A dentist can advise you on whether you should have them removed.
Wisdom Tooth Extractions
Every dentist may have variations in extraction procedures and guidelines for doing a simple extraction compared to a more complicated surgery. Every case is different and dental surgeons may impose specific procedures based on other health issues of the patient.
For instance, those with diabetes or heart problems may need to get permission from their family doctor and cardiologist before undergoing an extraction. Local anesthesia is used for these types of extractions but some may prefer sedation therapy. Extreme cases may require general anesthesia.
The dentist can remove all four wisdom teeth at once but usually removes only one or two at a time. That’s because the four wisdom teeth may not all come in at the same time.
They can come in years apart. A dental surgeon may also opt to remove wisdom teeth on one side of the mouth and wait for another appointment to remove those on the other side. This may be to lessen pain or because local anesthetics are used. A dentist may not want to numb the whole mouth for a variety of reasons.
There could also be many reasons for a dental surgeon to remove all four wisdom teeth at the same time. It depends on each individual’s health, anxiety level, and dental needs.
How Is the Extraction Done?
The extraction procedure depends on how far the tooth has grown from the gum and whether it’s impacted. Some dentists have pulled the entire tooth just as any other extraction.
A dentist will approach a wisdom tooth extraction a little differently if it hasn’t started poking through the gum. In that case, a small incision is made in the gum to get to the tooth. The dentist will also need to remove a small piece of bone that covers the tooth. They may then choose to cut the wisdom tooth into smaller pieces to easily remove it through the incision opening.
After Care for a Wisdom Tooth Extraction
The week after your wisdom teeth extraction is a time to be kind to your mouth. There are plenty of foods you can eat but you may need to get creative so you don’t get bored. Generally, soft foods are the way to go but be sure to avoid spicy ones.
That includes things like yogurt, ice cream, mashed potatoes, applesauce, avocado, pudding, eggs, soups, and bananas. One created idea is to make smoothies out of your favorite fruits or vegetables. You may want to be careful about hot and cold foods if you have tooth sensitivity but most people love the chance to eat ice cream after wisdom teeth extractions. You should let the soup cool some before eating it to be safe it doesn’t hurt your wounds.
You can start incorporating more of your favorite foods into your diet over the week. Be careful over things like meat, chips, popcorn, and similar foods because that could irritate the wounds. Also avoid eating things like foods with seeds or grains, nuts, foods that are crumbly, and spicy foods because all of those may irritate your gums.
Specific foods to avoid are things like strawberries, corn, steak, and rice, and acidic drinks like orange juice. You should also avoid chewing gum that could disrupt any stitches or blood clots in the back of the mouth.
A lot of what you eat and when depends on your situation and you may have to use your gut about what you think you can tolerate. Those experiencing more pain may want to hold off bringing more normal foods into their diets for a few extra days compared to those who heal quickly.
Your gum sockets won’t be completely healed after a week so you will need to continue to monitor pain and what you eat for a longer time. It takes approximately six weeks to fully heal so you should be back to your regular food about three to four weeks after wisdom teeth extractions.
Getting Rid of Stuck Food
One complaint of those who have had their wisdom teeth removed is that food can get stuck in the holes left behind. You don’t want to disrupt the stitches or blood clots and shouldn’t allow bacteria to enter the area.
Don’t try picking out food with a sharp instrument or one that’s unsterilized. Don’t use your tongue or fingers to dislodge food. You can dislodge stuck food in your wisdom teeth holes safely with a saltwater rinse, a mouthwash rinse, a warm water syringe, a gentle toothbrush, or a cotton swab.
Rinsing your mouth after eating will also help keep food debris from getting into the surgical area.
Another Dental Visit
Most dentists want you to come back for a follow-up visit a few weeks after the extraction. Some stitches are dissolvable and will go away on their own but others have to be removed by the dentist during the follow-up visit. Your dentist will advise you on follow-up visits.
Those who are experiencing the eruption of wisdom teeth should call us for an exam. Our dentist can recommend whether you should have them removed and discuss the process with you. We can help you avoid further pain from wisdom teeth coming in. Contact us today for an appointment!