Wisdom Teeth

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Q: What are wisdom teeth?
A: Wisdom teeth are the last 4 teeth to come in (making 32 in all) and do so in the teen years, or "age of wisdom." If these teeth align properly and the gum tissue is healthy they do not have to be removed.

Q: What are impacted wisdom teeth?
A: When your wisdom teeth have no room to grow, they are considered "impacted", and need to be removed. This can usually be determined by age 15 or 16.

Q: How do I prepare for the removal of my wisdom teeth?
A:

  1. Make sure you have an escort to bring you and take you home
  2. Most prefer IV anesthesia, if you want anesthesia then
    • Do not eat for 6 hours prior to surgery
    • Do no drink for 6 hours prior to surgery EXCEPT for small amounts of water to take normal medications

Q: What should I expect post-surgery?
A: Swelling is to be expected. To control it, use a cold pack during the first 24 hours in 20 minute cycles. Rinsing with warm salt water is advised after the first 24 hours to promote healing. Also, do not smoke for 12 hours, do not spit or suck through a straw, use aspirin or ibuprofen to control discomfort, and eat soft foods for the first few days after surgery.

Q: What is "Dry Socket"?
A: This occurs when the blood clot - acting as a scab - is lost prematurely. It can be painful, but is otherwise harmless. Your oral surgeon can pack the area with materials and chemicals to ease any discomfort. Not following post-surgery instructions increases the chances of experiencing this.