You've your wisdom tooth removed

Well, you’re now a few grams lighter than you used to be: your wisdom teeth were removed. But some questions might remain. Wondering how long you’ll be recovering for? Or when you’ll be back to chewing crunchy carrots and apples with ease? Read on to find out.

Getting your teeth pulled

The wisdom teeth, also known as the third molars, are the final set of molars to erupt. Not everyone keeps these teeth, nor are they necessary for having a healthy, beautiful smile. In fact, they can cause harm if they do not come in properly.

When these molars come in, usually between the ages of 16 and 20, there may not be enough room left for them to erupt. They can emerge at an angle, and may crowd the mouth or sometimes they don't fully emerge. As you can imagine, this can lead to future oral health problems like infections and pain.

The American Dental Association recommends that people have their mouth checked before the age of 20 to see how the wisdom teeth are developing. If necessary, your dentist or an oral surgeon can remove the final molars in a single outpatient procedure.

Scary? It doesn’t have to be. There are simple ways to take care of yourself – just because you had your wisdom teeth pulled doesn’t mean you can’t handle it wisely.

Post-surgery steps

After getting your wisdom teeth pulled, you are likely to experience pain and swelling. There may be some bleeding. While your mouth heals, you have to be careful not to dislodge the blood clot, or harm your healing gums.

Typical wisdom teeth recovery time is three to four days, although it can be as long as one week. The length of recovery depends a lot on how badly the wisdom teeth were impacted, and how they were erupting.

Plan on taking it easy for a few days; you can resume your normal activities after the first day in most cases, but for about a week you don't want to do anything that could dislodge the blood clot from where your teeth were removed.

Stay cool to keep pain at bay

  • Take a prescription pain killer recommended by your oral surgeon, or purchase an over-the-counter option
  • Place an ice pack over the jaw – this reduces swelling and discomfort
  • Avoid brushing, spitting, flossing and rinsing for 24 hours
  • Rinse frequently with salt water to keep your mouth clean
  • Stock up on apple sauce, yogurt, and cottage cheese. You want to eat a soft-food diet for the first day or more, and then slowly move to semi-soft foods when you’re ready.

Original content by Brenna Stone