Wisdom Teeth FAQ

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are your third molars located in the back of your mouth. They usually are the last to develop.

At what age do most people get wisdom teeth?

Most people get their wisdom teeth in their late teens or early twenties, but it is also possible to develop wisdom teeth as a pre-teen or as an older adult.

Does everyone have wisdom teeth?

No, not everyone gets wisdom teeth. While many people get all four of their wisdom teeth, some people may only develop three, two or even just one.

What are some symptoms of wisdom teeth?

Some symptoms of wisdom teeth are pain in the jaw, tenderness, swelling around the gums, discharge if an abscess or infection is present, or you can see it poking through the gum behind your second molar. Some people, however, don’t have any visible or noticeable symptoms of wisdom teeth pain.

Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

If they are impacted and or cause crowding in your teeth, it is recommended that they be removed to avoid damaging the surrounding teeth. If they grow in correctly positioned, healthy and function properly, it is not necessary to have them removed.

What are impacted wisdom teeth? 

A wisdom tooth is considered impacted if there is not enough room after the second molar for the tooth to emerge or develop normally.

What are some problems that can arise if I don’t get my wisdom teeth removed?

Wisdom teeth, if not grown properly, can cause further dental problems, including damage to surrounding teeth, jaw damage (cyst growth), inflamed/infected gum tissues, cavities, alignment problems, or sinus issues.

Why are wisdom teeth more difficult to remove than other teeth?

Wisdom teeth do not often grow in like your other teeth. If they are impacted, they have a more angled position and will need to be sectioned into pieces when extracted. If the tooth is not yet erupted, it will also require Dr. Loetscher to make an incision in the tissue before accessing the tooth.
In addition, we also have to consider the wisdom teeth’s root anatomy. Wisdom teeth typically have multiple roots and they can be shaped in a variety of ways, as well as grow separately or fused together. Teeth with irregularly shaped roots or curvature can be more difficult, especially on the lower jaw, because of its relativity to the nerve.

Will an anesthesiologist be present during my surgery?

Dr. Loetscher is a certified board anesthesiologist. Dr. Loetscher is one of the only oral & maxillofacial surgeons in the state that is trained and set-up to safely administer true general anesthesia. Having completed the required anesthesiology schooling, training and evaluation required and continues to maintain his education in order to administer anesthesia in the office. In addition to Dr. Loetscher expertise, two of our certified surgical assistants and our team of registered nurses are in the room with Dr. Loetscher throughout the entire procedure monitoring the patient’s vital signs and breathing.

Will I feel pain during the procedure?

Depending on the complexity of the extraction, there are different anesthetic options that could be administered during the procedure to minimize the pain and discomfort during the extraction. Please visit our Anesthesia Page under “other services” to review the different options available for our patients and procedures usually associated with each method.

What is the recovery period for wisdom teeth extractions?

We usually estimate 7-10 days for a recovery period, however some people may experience shorter or longer recovery times. Ultimately, it is all dependent on the patient.

What foods can I eat after wisdom teeth extraction?

Soft foods that are high in protein and carbohydrates for optimal healing. Examples include: Smoothies, milkshakes, Jell-O, pudding, eggs, pancakes, mashed potatoes, pastas, fish and rice. This diet is recommended for one week post-operatively. Also avoid drinking through a straw for 3 days.

What are dry sockets?

Once the tooth is removed, there is a hole in the bone called a socket. A blood clot forms in that area to protect the bone and nerves underneath. If that clot becomes dislodged or aggravated, it will cause the bone and nerve to be exposed to air, fluids and food, causing an infection – or a dry socket.

How do I know if I have dry sockets?

Dry sockets typically occur three to four days after wisdom teeth removal. Some symptoms include pain that radiates to your ear and is not alleviated after taking pain medication, bad breath or an unpleasant taste/smell in your mouth.

Will I swell after wisdom teeth removal?

After wisdom teeth removal, it is normal to experience swelling and bruising. The swelling usually improves after a few days while the bruising may take a few more to clear up. Use the ice pack as directed by our office.

Can I workout after I have my wisdom teeth removed?

We recommend waiting three-four days following wisdom teeth removal to exercise or participate in any vigorous activity. Exercising too early could aggravate the blood clot and increase your recovery time as well as discomfort.

Can I travel after getting my wisdom teeth removed?

We recommend waiting at least a day or two following wisdom teeth removal to travel (as mentioned, third or fourth day is the peak of discomfort). However, it is safe to fly after or travel after surgery (it will not affect your bleeding or healing process).