What to Expect When Getting Wisdom Teeth Removed

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Wisdom teeth typically emerge during your late teens to early twenties. While some people may never experience them, others may require extraction by a specialized maxillofacial surgeon. Your dentist will likely refer you to a local oral surgeon who specializes in wisdom tooth removal, as this procedure demands expertise beyond typical dental procedures.

What to Expect from Surgery

Your wisdom teeth removal specialist will likely administer general anesthesia or intravenous sedation to ensure your comfort during the procedure. Dr. Puckett is authorized to provide various forms of anesthesia, allowing you to either be fully asleep, in a drowsy state where you won’t recall the procedure, or adequately numbed to eliminate pain. We can discuss your anesthesia preferences during your initial consultation.

The duration of the procedure hinges on the number of wisdom teeth requiring extraction and whether any are impacted. While the surgery could span from an hour to several hours, you’ll be informed beforehand as the oral surgeon will have a clear estimate.

Rest assured, the surgery itself is straightforward—you’re unlikely to retain any memory of it.

Pre-Op Instructions

In order to prepare for your surgery and to ensure your safety, please follow these instructions:

  1. Do not eat or drink anything for 6 hours before your surgery. For your safety, we need you to have an empty stomach.
  2. Do not use any Cannabis products for at least 72 hours (three days) prior to surgery.

  3. Continue all medications prescribed by your physician. Do not stop any medication unless directed by your physician.

  4. Escorts must stay during surgery and to please have your adult escort take you directly home after the surgery.

  5. Dress comfortably. Please wear shoes that tie or boots, no slip on shoes. Please wear a short-sleeved shirt. If cold, a sweatshirt is ok, but remember the short-sleeved shirt underneath.

  6. Please do not wear necklaces, dangling earrings, or make-up on the day of surgery.

  7. Please do not wear contact lenses, wear glasses on the day of surgery.

  8. For moms of teenage boys – we do offer free haircuts – just let us know how short.

Post-Op Instructions

  1. Immediately after surgery: Resting for the first one to two days will help begin your healing. Heavy physical activity can result in increased pain and prolong the healing time. Once you get home, rest and relax. Elevating your head, placing cold packs on your face and eating soft foods are important post-operative instructions to remember. Refraining from smoking will help the extraction sites heal better and can decrease post-operative pain.
  2. Pain: Most patients require pain medication for one or two days after their surgery. Narcotic pain medications will make you groggy and slow your reflexes. Do not drive, operate machinery, or drink alcoholic beverages while taking these medications. Also, do not take these medications on an empty stomach, as this can increase nausea and vomiting.
  3. Bleeding: Some bleeding is to be expected following tooth removal. Minor bleeding or oozing for the first few days is not uncommon. Firm pressure on either a gauze pad or a moistened tea bag for thirty minutes will stop the bleeding in most cases. Keeping your head elevated will also help. If bleeding does not subside, please call us for additional instructions.
  4. Swelling: Ice, frozen peas, or a gel pack will be of great benefit to minimize post-operative swelling. This needs to be started as soon as possible after the surgery and continued for the first 24 hours in order to help the most. Swelling will peak on days 2-3 post-operatively, and then decrease each day. After 48 hours, moist heat will help to decrease swelling and bruising quicker.
  5. Diet: Eating soft foods for the first few days will make your recovery easier. Do not use a straw for the first two days – this can increase bleeding.
  6. Oral Hygiene: Be gentle with cleaning your mouth after surgery. Do not vigorously rinse your mouth for the first 24 hours. Gently brushing and rinsing are important. Rinsing should be done using lukewarm water with either a teaspoon of salt added or a small amount of Scope or Listerine added. If you are given a plastic irrigating syringe, do not begin irrigating until day 7 post-operatively. The salt water or Scope-water solution is used for irrigating.
  7. Medications: Do not stop any medication which has been prescribed by your physician, unless directed to do so by your physician.

Learn More

The Anatomy of a Wisdom Tooth

We all know the Golden Rule of Wisdom Teeth: get them taken out before they have the chance to cause problems. But what is it