Wisdom Teeth Removal: What to Expect Before, During, and After the Procedure

Wisdom teeth removal is a common dental procedure that involves the extraction of the third molars, also known as wisdom teeth. These teeth typically erupt during the late teenage years or early twenties and can cause various issues, including pain, infection, and crowding of the other teeth.

About Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the last set to emerge in the back of the mouth. Most people have four wisdom teeth, one erupting in each corner of the mouth. However, some individuals may have fewer wisdom teeth or even none.

Wisdom teeth often face complications due to their late eruption and limited space in the mouth. They may grow at odd angles, partially emerge, or become impacted (trapped beneath the gum line). These conditions can lead to various oral health problems, necessitating wisdom teeth removal.

Symptoms of Wisdom Teeth Erupting

When wisdom teeth begin to erupt, they may cause noticeable symptoms like:

  • Pain and discomfort: You may experience soreness and pain in the back of your mouth, especially around the area where the wisdom teeth are erupting.
  • Swelling and redness: The gum tissue around the erupting teeth may become swollen, tender, and inflamed.
  • Jaw stiffness: Wisdom teeth eruption can lead to jaw stiffness and difficulty opening your mouth entirely.
  • Headaches: Some individuals may experience headaches or earaches due to the pressure exerted by the erupting wisdom teeth.
  • Unpleasant taste or bad breath: If the partially erupted wisdom teeth create a flap of gum tissue, food particles can get trapped, leading to an unpleasant taste or bad breath.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is advisable to consult with a dentist, who can assess your situation and determine if wisdom teeth removal is necessary.

What Happens Before Wisdom Teeth Removal Procedure?

Before undergoing wisdom teeth removal, several steps are involved to ensure a successful procedure and minimise discomfort. Here’s what you can expect during the pre-operative phase:

  • Consultation: Your dental professional will thoroughly examine your mouth and take X-rays to evaluate the position of your wisdom teeth. Based on the assessment, they will determine if extraction is required and discuss the procedure with you.
  • Preparing for the procedure: Your dentist will provide pre-operative instructions, which may include avoiding food and drink for a certain period before the surgery. They may also advise you to bring someone to drive you home after the procedure if anaesthesia is used.
  • Anaesthesia options: Depending on the complexity of the extraction and your comfort level, your dentist may recommend local anaesthesia, sedation, or general anaesthesia. This will be discussed with you before the procedure.

What Happens During Your Wisdom Teeth Removal Procedure?

The wisdom teeth removal procedure itself typically involves the following steps:

  • Anaesthesia administration: Once you are comfortable, the chosen anaesthesia will be administered. Local anaesthesia numbs the extraction area, while sedation or general anaesthesia may be used to make you feel relaxed or unconscious during the procedure.
  • Tooth extraction: The dentist will carefully remove the wisdom teeth by making an incision in the gum tissue if necessary. Sometimes, the teeth may need to be sectioned into smaller pieces for easier removal. The dentist will take care to minimise trauma to the surrounding tissues.
  • Suturing and gauze placement: After the extraction, the dentist may place dissolvable sutures to promote healing. They will also instruct you to bite on gauze to control bleeding and facilitate blood clot formation in the extraction site.

The duration of the procedure depends on the complexity of the case, the number of teeth being removed, and the type of anaesthesia used.

What Happens After Your Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery?

After the wisdom teeth removal surgery, proper care is essential to promote healing and minimise complications. Here’s what you should expect during the post-operative phase:

  • Recovery period: You may experience discomfort, swelling, and mild bleeding in the first few days after the procedure. It is normal for these symptoms to gradually improve over time.
  • Pain management: Pain after wisdom teeth removal is expected, so your dentist may prescribe pain medications or over-the-counter pain relievers. Applying an ice pack to the outside of your face can also help reduce swelling.
  • Dietary restrictions: Aftercare for wisdom teeth removal requires you to stick to soft foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes, and soups for the first few days. Avoid hot, spicy, and crunchy foods that can irritate the extraction sites.
  • Oral hygiene: Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth with warm saltwater. This helps to keep the extraction sites clean. Ensure not to disturb the blood clot forming in the sockets.
  • Follow-up appointments: Your dentist will schedule a follow-up visit to monitor your healing progress and remove any sutures if necessary. Attend these appointments as advised to ensure proper recovery.

It’s important to note that everyone’s wisdom teeth removal recovery timeline may vary. Still, with proper care and following your dentist’s instructions, you should heal well and resume normal activities within a few days to a week.

Wisdom teeth removal can alleviate pain and prevent complications associated with the eruption of these teeth. By knowing what to expect before, during, and after the procedure, you can confidently approach the process and ensure a smooth recovery. If you are experiencing symptoms or suspect issues with wisdom teeth, consult our dental surgeons today. Our team will evaluate your condition and offer a personalised treatment plan. Early intervention can help prevent future oral health problems and maintain a healthy smile. So, call us at 1300 025 113 to book a consultation now.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Will I Feel After My Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Following the surgery, it is typical to encounter certain discomforts and symptoms as your body goes through the healing process. Jaw pain is a prevalent symptom after wisdom teeth removal, often attributed to the stretching and manipulation of the jaw during the procedure. Additionally, the masseter muscles, which play a significant role in jaw movement, can become sore and tender post-surgery. Gum pain and tenderness are also common after wisdom teeth removal.

Also, it is common to experience an occasional low-grade fever two days after the surgery. However, it is essential to note that some individuals may experience pain even 10 days after the procedure, which should be promptly addressed by seeking medical attention.

Can Wisdom Teeth Extraction lead to a bad taste in the mouth?

Yes, wisdom teeth extraction can sometimes lead to a bad taste in the mouth. This typically occurs during the initial healing phase after the procedure. The extraction sites can create an open area in the mouth where food particles, bacteria, and other debris may accumulate. If these substances are not properly cleared away, they can cause an unpleasant taste.

How Do I Prepare Myself for Wisdom Teeth Removal?

To prepare for wisdom teeth extraction:

  • Follow fasting instructions before the surgery.
  • Provide complete information about your medications.
  • Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol before surgery.
  • Set up a comfortable recovery area at home.
What Do Doctors Do Before Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Before wisdom teeth removal, doctors typically perform the following tasks:

  • Conduct a thorough examination of the patient’s oral health.
  • Review the patient’s medical history and any medications they are taking.
  • Take dental X-rays to assess the position and condition of the wisdom teeth.
  • Discuss the procedure with the patient, addressing concerns and answering questions.
  • Provide preoperative instructions, such as fasting guidelines and medication protocols.
What Are the Symptoms of My Wisdom Teeth Coming In?

The symptoms of erupting wisdom teeth can vary but commonly include the following:

  • Pain or discomfort in the back of the mouth or jaw.
  • Swollen or tender gums around the wisdom tooth area.
  • Jaw stiffness or difficulty in opening the mouth fully.
  • Bad breath or an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
  • Crowding or shifting of nearby teeth.
  • Headaches or earaches.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should consult a dentist for an evaluation.

Can I Eat or Drink Before My Wisdom Teeth Removal Procedure?

You must not eat or drink anything, including water, after midnight before your wisdom teeth removal procedure. Fasting is typically required to ensure a safe surgery and minimise the risk of complications associated with anaesthesia. Follow the specific fasting instructions your dentist or oral surgeon provides for your procedure.

What Does Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery Involve?

Wisdom teeth removal surgery involves anaesthesia, incision, teeth extraction, stitching if needed, and a monitored recovery period. The procedure specifics may vary based on complexity and surgeon preference.

Will I Need to Be Under Local or General Anaesthetic for Wisdom Teeth Removal?

The need for local or general anaesthesia during wisdom teeth removal depends on various factors, such as the complexity of the procedure, the number of teeth being removed, and the patient’s preference. In some cases, local anaesthesia (numbing of the area) is sufficient, while in others, general anaesthesia (being unconscious) may be preferred for comfort or to facilitate a more complex extraction. Your dentist or oral surgeon will determine the choice of anaesthesia based on your specific situation.

How Does Wisdom Teeth Removal Work?

Wisdom teeth removal works by:

  • Relieving pain caused by impacted or misaligned teeth.
  • Preventing damage to neighbouring teeth from pressure and overcrowding.
  • Reducing the risk of infection and gum disease.
  • Avoiding potential complications like cavities, cysts, or tumours.
  • Promoting overall oral health and reducing the need for future treatments.
When To Have a Wisdom Tooth Extracted?

A wisdom tooth should be extracted when it causes pain, infection, damage to neighbouring teeth, or if there is insufficient space in the mouth for proper eruption. Additionally, proactive extraction may be recommended if there is a high risk of future complications.

How Long Before Swelling Goes Down After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Swelling after wisdom teeth removal typically peaks within the first 48 hours and gradually subsides over several days. However, the exact duration of swelling can vary from person to person. Generally, most of the swelling should go down within a week or two after the surgery.

Can The Face Shape Change After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Removing wisdom teeth typically does not cause significant changes to the face shape. However, in cases where impacted or poorly positioned wisdom teeth contribute to facial swelling or jaw misalignment, their removal can lead to a more balanced and symmetrical appearance. These changes, if any, are subtle and may not be noticeable to others.

Can You Experience Bruising on Face After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Yes, it is possible to experience bruising on the face after wisdom teeth removal. The extraction procedure can cause minor trauma to the surrounding tissues, leading to bruising or discolouration. The extent and duration of bruising can vary from person to person. It is a normal part of the healing process and typically resolves within a week or two.

I Can't Open My Jaw After Wisdom Teeth Removal? Is This Normal?

Experiencing difficulty opening your jaw after wisdom teeth removal is relatively common and considered normal in the initial days of recovery. Swelling, inflammation, and muscle stiffness can contribute to limited jaw movement.

Can You Smoke After Having Wisdom Teeth Removed?

It is highly recommended to avoid smoking after having wisdom teeth removed. Smoking can significantly impair the healing process and increase the risk of complications. The chemicals in cigarettes can delay the formation of blood clots, which are crucial for proper healing.

Do You Get Pain Meds After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Yes, it is common to be prescribed pain medications after wisdom teeth removal. Pain medication helps manage postoperative discomfort and allows for a more comfortable recovery.

Do You Get Bad Breath After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

It is possible to experience bad breath or an unpleasant taste in the mouth after wisdom teeth removal. This is often temporary and can be attributed to the healing process, blood or debris in the extraction sites, and changes in oral hygiene routines during recovery. Proper oral care instructions provided by your dentist or oral surgeon, including gentle brushing, rinsing with salt water or prescribed mouthwash, and maintaining good hydration, can help minimise bad breath.

After Wisdom Teeth Removal, How Long Does Bleeding Last?

It is common to bleed immediately after the surgery. Some may also experience bleeding a day after the surgery. However, the amount of bleeding may reduce gradually.

How Long After Wisdom Teeth Removal Can I Brush and Eat?

After wisdom teeth removal, waiting at least 24 hours before brushing your teeth is typically recommended. This allows blood clots to form and the extraction sites to heal. However, following your dentist or oral surgeon’s instructions is essential, as they may provide personalised guidance based on your case. Regarding chewing on food, it is best to stick to a soft diet for the first few days after the procedure to avoid disturbing the extraction sites.

How Long After Wisdom Teeth Removal Can I Drink Water, Coffee, and Alcohol?

After wisdom teeth removal, you can typically start drinking water right after the procedure, as it is crucial to stay hydrated. However, avoiding using a straw for the first few days is best to prevent dislodging blood clots. As for coffee and alcohol, it is generally recommended to wait at least 24 hours before consuming them.

How Long After Wisdom Teeth Removal Can I Drive?

The ability to drive after wisdom teeth removal can vary depending on the individual and the type of anaesthesia used during the procedure. If local anaesthesia is administered, you can typically drive yourself home after the surgery. However, suppose you received sedation or general anaesthesia. In that case, it is essential to arrange for someone else to drive you home, as the effects of the anaesthesia can impair your judgment and reflexes.

How Long After Wisdom Teeth Removal Can I Exercise, Run, Or Swim?

After removing wisdom teeth, avoiding vigorous exercise, running, or swimming for at least 24 to 48 hours is generally recommended. Physical exertion can increase blood flow to the surgical area, which may lead to prolonged bleeding or disrupt the formation of blood clots.

How Long After Wisdom Teeth Removal Can I Get Braces?

It is typically recommended to wait until after wisdom teeth removal before getting braces. The healing period after wisdom teeth removal can vary, but it is generally advised to wait a few weeks to a few months before starting orthodontic treatment with braces.

How Long After Wisdom Teeth Removal Can I Use Mouthwash?

It is generally recommended to wait at least 24 hours before using mouthwash after wisdom teeth removal. Mouthwash containing alcohol or harsh chemicals can irritate the extraction sites and hinder healing.

How Long After Wisdom Teeth Removal Does Numbness Go Away?

The duration of numbness after wisdom teeth removal can vary. In most cases, the numbness or tingling sensation in the lips, tongue, or cheeks caused by nerve involvement during the procedure subsides within a few hours to a few days. However, in rare cases, it can take weeks or even months for full sensation to return.

How Many Days Does Swelling Last After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Swelling after wisdom teeth removal typically peaks within 48 to 72 hours and gradually subsides over several days. In general, most swelling should resolve within one week after the procedure.

What Are the Best Foods to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal, And What to Avoid?

After removing wisdom teeth, it is recommended to stick to a soft diet for the first few days to avoid irritating the extraction sites. Here are some foods that are generally considered suitable:

Recommended foods:

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Soft-cooked eggs or omelettes
  • Baked beans
  • Banana bread
  • Soft cake or cupcakes
  • Cheese (soft varieties)
  • Shredded or diced chicken
  • Chicken nuggets (soft and easy to chew)
  • Mild chilli (without chunky ingredients)
  • Soft-cooked vegetables (carrots, peas, green beans)

Foods to avoid:

  • Hard or chewy foods like burgers and cheeseburgers
  • Crispy or crunchy foods like chips and French fries
  • Sticky or chewy candies, including Nutella
  • Hot soups or drinks that can disrupt blood clots
  • Ice cream or frozen treats (initially, as they can cause discomfort)
  • Instant noodles (unless softened well)
  • Hard, chewy, or sticky bread like bagels or pizza crust
  • Tough meats or jerky
  • Foods with small, hard pieces like nuts or seeds
  • Spicy or acidic foods that may irritate the extraction sites
Can You Talk After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Yes, you can generally talk after wisdom teeth removal. However, you may experience some difficulty or discomfort in speaking due to swelling, numbness, or soreness in the mouth.

When Can I Use a Straw After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

It is generally recommended to avoid using a straw for the first few days after wisdom teeth removal. Sucking on a straw can create suction in the mouth, which can dislodge blood clots and interfere with healing. Using a straw too soon can increase the risk of dry socket, a painful condition that occurs when the blood clot is disrupted. Before using a straw, it is best to wait until the extraction sites have had time to heal, typically around three to five days.