What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth, also called third molars ( 3rds ), are the four back teeth that generally erupt between the ages of 17 and 21. Having your wisdom teeth removed is a procedure that helps to protect oral health which also protects your overall health and wellness. Because of this, nearly 85 percent of people have had their wisdom teeth removed by adulthood. Those who do not remove their wisdom teeth will want to schedule routine dental appointments as the potential for developing problems with wisdom teeth health increases with age.
Reasons For Wisdom Teeth Removal
Some patients may develop a serious gum condition if wisdom teeth are not removed. Periodontal disease damages the gums and can destroy the jawbone. Bacteria may then spread and infect more teeth.
Bacteria can collect in difficult to clean areas that may cause infection.
Pain is the most common symptom when wisdom teeth begin to erupt.
Wisdom teeth can cause decay or resorption of neighboring teeth.
Eruption of wisdom teeth may cause sinus pain, pressure and congestion.
Impacted teeth do not have the potential to erupt so you cannot use them to chew.
Permanent teeth may shift, undoing the effects of braces.
Cysts and/or Tumors
A fluid-filled cyst or tumor may form around untreated wisdom teeth. This can lead to more serious problems as it hollows out the jaw and damages surrounding nerves, teeth and other structures.
What To Expect
Length of Procedure
The length of your procedure will depend on the degree of impaction, curvature of root and level of infection. Wisdom teeth procedures typically take 30 to 60 minutes. You can expect to be in our office 1.5 to 2 hours which accounts for consultation, procedure and in-office recovery time. Tell your doctor about any and all prescriptions you are taking before the procedure.
You are in a twilight sleep. You are asleep, but still breathing on your own and able to respond to commands. You will not feel pain or remember anything from your procedure, including tastes, smells and sounds. We have registered nurses on staff before, during and after your procedure to ensure you receive the best care.
If you have any questions regarding IV sedation, visit our IV Sedation page or call our office at 402.327.9400, where one of our registered nurses, surgical assistants, doctors or supporting staff is happy to help.
Before Your Appointment
Do not eat or drink anything for at least 8 hours before your IV sedated procedure. This means no food, water, mints or gum.
Please make arrangements for someone to stay with you at the office, through your procedure and drive you home after the procedure.
If you normally wear contacts, we ask you wear your glasses the day of the procedure, as well as a short sleeve shirt.
Patient paperwork can be filled out here. If you have filled out the paperwork online, prior to your appointment, please arrive 5 to 10 minutes early. If you would like to fill out your paperwork at the office, the day of your procedure, arrive 20 minutes prior.
At The Office
Patients 18 years or younger will need a guardian present to sign a consent form.
If your dentist or physician has taken x-rays, you may forward them or bring them to our office. If additional films are necessary, they can be taken at our office.
Before the procedure, a dental assistant will go over your medical history. Your doctor will also visit you to answer any questions or concerns you may have. If you have concerns about medications, please call prior to your procedure so we can contact your physician.
Tips For A Speedy Recovery
- After your wisdom teeth removal procedure, a nurse will take you to one of our state-of-the-art recovery rooms. Our rooms are equipped with high-tech monitoring to ensure your safety.
- We will inform your driver when you are in recovery and show them to your room to go over recovery instructions.
- Your nurse will stay to answer any other questions you may have before leaving our office and will send printed recovery instructions home with you for your convenience.
- When you get home, we recommend a lot of rest, icing and to begin taking your pain medication before existing numbness wears off.
- We will send you home with a recovery kit that includes extra
- gauze and gloves for bleeding.
- Slight to severe tingling of the lip, chin and tongue is normal and will be temporary.
- Take off work/school the day of your procedure, as well as the following day. You may want to take off more days depending on how you feel.
- After your procedure, enjoy a cup of gourmet ice cream on us!
Recover with Ease
Your procedure is over, now what? Watch as we review everything the nurses covered in your post-op recovery. This video is full of basic recovery instructions and tips to help avoid dry sockets and infection.
Following your wisdom teeth removal procedure, it is normal to experience some pain, swelling and bleeding. You can help aid in the healing process at home by following your doctor’s instructions for post-op care.
Some bleeding is expected in the first several hours following surgery. To control bleeding, place clean gauze over the extraction site and apply pressure by biting to stop the bleeding. Rest and avoid strenuous activity for at least 24 hours. Exerting yourself too quickly can increase bleeding and discomfort.
To minimize pain and swelling, apply ice to your face. You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription pain medications as directed by your doctor. The foods you can eat in the first couple of days following surgery will be limited. Start with clear liquids and soft foods, and as the extraction site heals, gradually progress to eating other foods.
How to Avoid Dry Sockets
Avoid touching the wound at all costs, other than changing gauze.
No smoking for at least 72 hours after tooth removal. We recommend permanent smoking cessation.
Do not eat foods that leave residual particles in your mouth for four days after your procedure. e.g. popcorn, peanuts, rice and pretzels
Eat soft foods, such as clear soup, mashed potatoes and pudding.
Avoid carbonated drinks.
Tell your doctor about any and all prescriptions you are taking before the procedure.
Do not drink through a straw or suck on hard candies for one week.
No vigorous sports or heavy lifting for 5 days.
No jogging or playing of musical wind instruments for 4 days.
We're Here To Help
Whether you have questions about a wisdom teeth removal or any other procedure, we're here to help.
Give us a call at 402.327.9400 or chat us through our live chat where our specialists are happy to help you.
Did You Know?
Symptom-free doesn’t mean disease-free! Even if your wisdom teeth aren’t causing pain, now may be a good time to remove them. Untreated wisdom teeth can cause periodontal disease, infection, pain, decay, sinus issues, impaction, crowding of existing teeth, cysts and/or tumors.