Wisdom Teeth removal in dentist chair
Family Needs

How to care for Wisdom Teeth in 5 Simple Steps

January 6, 2018 admin

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Learn the 5 things you need to know when having your wisdom teeth removed

Most people will encounter the term wisdom teeth in their lifetime. You might experience this your self or hear other people’s terror stories. I am here to teach you on how to care for wisdom teeth in 5 simple steps. These “wise” teeth usually come in when we as people are not so wise, so having a caregiver is defiantly someone you want on your side.

My 19-year-old daughter recently had all 4 of her wisdom teeth pulled over her Christmas break from college.

Step 1: {Knowledge is Power}

I am sure you have heard the words “wisdom teeth” but do you really know what these words refer to. Wisdom teeth are the 3rd set of molar teeth that grow in the back part of the mouth. These usually appear in the late teens to early 20’s {17-24 age range}. Most people grow 4 wisdom teeth {one on each side} in the back part of their mouth. Some people might only grow 3 or none. The lucky ones have their wisdom teeth come in and are never aware. The not so lucky ones {most people} have pain or more complications when their wisdom teeth come in. Common signs that your wisdom teeth are coming in include:

  • Pain, this can be to the back of the mouth in the gums and present when eating
  • Swelling of gums
  • Change in the taste of foods
  • Bad Breath
  • Pus drainage from gums {infection}

These are signs that you need to see your dentist.

The dentist will perform x-rays and an oral exam to determine if you are suffering from wisdom teeth. Sometimes there can be complications {growing in sideways or an impaction} with the way your teeth are growing in that might require an oral surgeon to perform surgery.

My daughter was lucky enough that the dentist could remove all her wisdom teeth in his office. She did have an impacted tooth on the bottom right that was not coming in as much as the other wisdom teeth, so this was going to be somewhat of a challenge, but he felt confident that he could remove it. We chose this option to avoid having to go back for just one tooth.

Step 2: {Before they are taken}

Once the dentist makes their determination. A date will be scheduled for the extraction of your wisdom teeth. Since mind-altering medications will be given the day of surgery you will need to plan for someone to be your caregiver {driver}.

As the caregiver, you can prepare with the following tips:

  • Buy several days of soft foods {pudding, mashed potatoes, soups}
  • Make sure you have salt
  • Make sure to have a place for your loved one to rest in with plenty of pillows
  • Have some type of ice packs
  • Have some over the counter medications for pain such as acetaminophen {Tylenol} or Ibuprofen {Advil or Motrin}

Items needed for after wisdom teeth removed

Step 3: {The day of the extraction}

You will be nervous, yet ready to get this done so you can stop suffering from the symptoms you are experiencing. The dentist will give you medications to reduce your pain during the procedure. These could be local anesthetics {shot in your gums}, a pill, nitrous oxide {laughing gas} or IV medications {this is mostly with oral surgeons}. Once the procedure is complete you will act and say funny things {your caregiver can record these for laughs later} but you will not remember this. You will sleep most of the day. Hate to be the one to tell you this but you will wake up hurting.

As the caregiver, you will drive your loved one to the dentist {or oral surgeon} for the procedure. The dentist may have given you a medication to give your loved one prior to coming to the office.

An antianxiety medication {Ativan} was given to my daughter to calm her. She had to take it one hour before the scheduled procedure time.

Once the procedure is complete {anywhere from 1-2 hours usually} your loved one will be brought out via wheelchair, awake yet hard to understand. This is due to the gauze in their mouth and the medications. {This is when you want to pull out the camera and record the funny things they say}. You will take them home and provide Step #4 Post op care.


Step #4: {Post operation care}

This part will last averagely about one week to get you back to feeling like yourself. The first 2 days are an appropriate time to have a caregiver, even though many people can heal on their own. The dentist will provide you and your caregiver specific instructions. The following tips give you an idea of what to expect:

  • Pain control: The dentist will provide you with some hard-core pain medications. You will want to get this filled before going home {hello caregiver}. You will want to take this before going to sleep at home to help prevent major pain upon waking up. Take this medication as prescribed by your dentist. After about the 2 days you can take Ibuprofen or Tylenol for pain.
  • Antibiotics: These will be given to prevent infection. This again will need to be started right away, so pick up before going home. {Hello caregiver}. Take these as prescribed by your dentist and complete all medication.
  • Bleeding: This is normal and will occur. After the procedure is performed the dentist will apply clean gauze to removal site and have you bite down {this is allowing a clot to form}. You {or your caregiver} will change these ever so often for a few hours. If bleeding does not stop, contact your dentist.
  • Swelling: Your face will swell on the inside and outside from the procedure, you will want to prevent it from getting out of control {this will also help with the pain}. You will want to apply ice for about 20 minutes on then 20 minutes off for the first day or more {for your comfort}.

We did not prepare great for this one, so my daughter used frozen corn and pea bags. She liked these because they had lots of giving room for excellent placement.

person with bags of corn on side of face

  • Preventing dry socket: This is a huge pain complication that can occur while you are healing. A blood clot will need to form in the opening left in your gums. If this blood clot is lodged out of the empty space you will have nerves open to air which will cause extreme pain and a longer healing time. Preventing this is major SOOO no sucking through straws, no hot beverages or food for first 24 hours, soft foods, no forceful spitting and no smoking.
  • Oral care: The first day you will not perform any oral care, then starting day two you will swish and spit with warm salt water about every 3-4 hours. By day 3 you can start brushing, getting closer to the back each time.
  • Rest: This is a form of surgery and with all surgeries, you need to rest to allow your body to heal.

Step #5: {Complete Healing}

It will take several weeks, up to 8 weeks to completely heal. After about the first week you can return to doing and eating normal foods. You might feel discomfort or as my daughter says, “it just feels weird”.

You will make it through like a champ by following these 5 simple steps. As the caregiver, enjoy the funny videos for years to come, I know I am enjoying mine.

Please share your experiences with Wisdom Teeth, I am sure you have more advice to help others out.



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