Wisdom teeth removal is a common dental treatment. Lots of people have questions about what it involves. Today, we’re answering all your wisdom teeth FAQ (frequently asked questions). So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Wisdom Teeth FAQ
I’ve answered some wisdom teeth FAQ in detail in previous posts already. Read these blogs for detailed information on:
More Wisdom Teeth FAQ
Now here the answers to some more commonly asked questions about wisdom teeth:
What age do you get your wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth usually erupt between 17 and 21 years of age.
Why do wisdom teeth come in so late?
Wisdom teeth come in late because our jaws are not fully developed or able to accommodate the wisdom teeth before 17 years of age. If the wisdom teeth came in earlier, there wouldn’t be enough room for them and they could damage the jaw.
When do wisdom teeth stop growing?
Wisdom teeth usually stop growing between the ages of 17 and 21 years when they erupt. In some people they can come by age 25 or even the late 20s. It’s very unusual for wisdom teeth to come after age 30.
Why do my wisdom teeth smell?
If your wisdom teeth are impacted, it can lead to an infection, which can create a bad smell in your mouth. Your dentist can pull an impacted wisdom tooth, and that should get rid of the problem. In the meantime, you can try salt water rinses 2-3 times a day.
How to clean wisdom teeth?
This is one of the most common wisdom teeth FAQ. If you’re having trouble keeping your wisdom teeth clean with a traditional toothbrush, try using an electric toothbrush. Although studies do not show a major difference in plaque levels between traditional vs electric toothbrushes. However, electric toothbrushes provide a thorough yet gentle cleaning. Plus, a built-in timer helps you keep track of brushing time. Most people who use manual toothbrushes only brush for 45 seconds. The American Dental Association recommends brushing for 2 minutes each 2 times a day.
How to know your wisdom teeth are coming in?
You can tell your wisdom teeth are coming in if you feel a slight irritation in your gums in the back of the mouth. If you look in a mirror, you may be able to see redness of the gums that sit on top of the wisdom teeth. Some people can even see small white specks which are the top of the wisdom tooth breaking through the gums.
Does it hurt when your wisdom teeth come in?
It may hurt slightly when your wisdom teeth come in. Most people describe it as a dull ache, but some folks have more pronounced pain. Referred pain from wisdom teeth can even be felt in surrounding structures such as the eyes, ears, and jaw.
What age do you get your wisdom teeth out?
You get your wisdom teeth pulled out at whatever age they start creating problems. The suggested age is 18 to 24 years. Wisdom teeth can be safely extracted any time after the root has developed to at least two-thirds of its full size.
How to know if you need your wisdom teeth removed?
You need your wisdom teeth removed if there are problems in the area, such as tooth pain, cysts, or repeated infections.
How to know if wisdom teeth are impacted?
Impacted wisdom teeth cause symptoms such as redness, swelling, tenderness, bleeding gums, bad breath, unpleasant taste, and difficulty opening your mouth.
What happens if you don’t remove your wisdom teeth?
The wisdom teeth are located in the back of the mouth, an area that is difficult to keep clean. If you don’t remove wisdom teeth, they can become a hotbed of bacterial growth, which can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and mouth infections. Additionally, if you don’t remove wisdom teeth and they don’t have enough room to come in properly, it can lead to overcrowding, which can damage adjacent teeth.
How to relieve ear pressure from wisdom teeth?
If a wisdom tooth cannot erupt properly, it may grow at an angle and cause problems in your gums and jaw. This can lead to ear pain and ear pressure. This problem can be resolved through extraction of the wisdom teeth.
Who pulls wisdom teeth?
A general dentist can usually pull your wisdom teeth. However, if a wisdom tooth is impacted and requires a more invasive procedure for extraction, your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon.
What type of anesthesia is used for wisdom teeth?
Local anesthesia is used to numb the gums for wisdom teeth removal. Your dentist may also offer sedation anesthesia through an IV line in your arm. The medicines in this type of anesthesia make you relaxed and drowsy. You may not remember the procedure completely. However, if you receive sedation anesthesia, you will need someone to drive you home.
Brushing Teeth After Wisdom Teeth FAQ
When can I brush my teeth after wisdom teeth removal?
For the first 24 hours, you should avoid brushing your teeth at all. For the next 48 hours, you can brush your teeth but you should avoid brushing near the extraction site. After 72 hours, you can brush your teeth normally.
How to brush teeth after wisdom teeth removal?
Be very gentle when brushing your teeth after wisdom teeth removal, especially near the surgical site.
When can I wear my retainer after wisdom teeth removal?
In general, we recommend that you avoid wearing your retainer for 1-3 days and thereafter as comfort allows. Your dentist will give you detailed instructions.
FAQ on Wisdom Teeth Pain, Swelling, Numbness
How long does swelling last after wisdom teeth removal?
Swelling is typically worse for the first 1-2 days after wisdom tooth removal. Applying a cold compress to your face can help keep wisdom tooth swelling down. Soreness in the jaw can last for up to 2 weeks but usually wears off in 7-10 days.
How long does numbness last after wisdom teeth removal?
The numbness from the local anesthesia given for wisdom teeth removal lasts for 2-5 hours. In addition to your gums, there can be numbness in your lips, cheek, and tongue as well.
How long will my cheeks be swollen after wisdom teeth?
Cheek swelling is usually worse for the first few days and gradually improves in 7-10 days. Applying a cold compress can help.
Why is one side more swollen after wisdom teeth?
If you had one wisdom tooth removed, it is normal for that side to be more swollen compared to the other side for the first 3-4 days. This is a normal reaction to the tooth extraction and will go down on its own. Application of a cold compress can reduce the swelling.
How to make wisdom teeth swelling go down?
You can make wisdom teeth swelling go down by applying an ice pack or cold compress to your face in the area of the swelling. Sucking on ice chips may reduce the swollen area and keep you comfortable. Taking over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen may also help. In addition, it’s important that you avoid anything that can irritate the extraction site, such as tobacco or alcohol.
Eating After Wisdom Teeth Removal
When can I eat chips after wisdom teeth removal?
You will need to avoid eating chips (and other crunchy foods like nuts, seeds, and popcorn) for 2 weeks after wisdom teeth removal. These hard, crunchy foods can get stuck in the extraction site and cause the wound to open.
When can I eat rice after wisdom teeth removal?
You can eat rice, pasta, and other similar foods 3-7 days after wisdom teeth removal. Eating these foods too soon can dislodge the blood clot from the extraction site before the wound has healed, causing a painful condition called dry socket.
How long after wisdom teeth removal can I eat a burger?
Most patients can resume a normal diet, including burgers, after 7-14 days.
When can I eat pizza after wisdom teeth removal?
You can eat pizza 1-2 weeks after wisdom teeth removal. It’s a good idea to chew it from the other side of your mouth initially to avoid opening up the stitches.
When can I eat spicy food after wisdom teeth removal?
You should wait at least 7-10 days after wisdom teeth removal before eating spicy foods or acidic foods as they can irritate the gums and cause pain in the healing surgical site.
When can I eat chicken after wisdom teeth removal?
You can start to introduce solid foods like chicken into your diet about 7 days after wisdom teeth removal.
When can I eat meat after wisdom teeth removal?
You can eat meat 7-14 days after wisdom teeth removal. Start by eating soft foods like eggs, soups, and mashed potatoes and gradually introduce solid food into your diet. Avoid very hard, crunchy, or chewy meats such as steak or jerky, especially for the first couple of weeks.
When can I chew gum after wisdom teeth?
You can chew gum 7 days after wisdom teeth removal. Avoid any foods that are sticky for the first week, such as chewing gum or toffee.
Drinking After Wisdom Teeth Extraction
What can I drink after wisdom teeth removal?
You can drink water and other cold beverages like juice, ginger ale, smoothies, milkshakes, and Gatorade after wisdom teeth removal. Avoid hot drinks for at least 24 hours.
When can I drink water after wisdom teeth removal?
You can drink water and other liquids about 3-4 hours after wisdom teeth surgery. At this time, you may remove the gauze that were placed in your mouth and have something to drink.
How to drink water after wisdom teeth removal?
Drink water from a glass after wisdom teeth removal. Do not use a straw because the sucking action can cause the blood clot at the extraction site to dislodge, causing bleeding.
When can I drink soda after wisdom teeth removal?
You can drink sodas 5-7 days after wisdom teeth removal. The bubbles in carbonated beverages can damage the clot at the extraction site and cause complications such as bleeding or dry socket.
When can I drink coffee after wisdom teeth removal?
We recommend waiting at least 5 days before re-introducing coffee and other hot beverages into your diet. This is to allow the extraction site to heal without problems.
When can I use a straw after wisdom teeth removal?
You can use a straw 2 weeks after having a wisdom tooth pulled.
Wisdom Teeth FAQ: Smoking and Alcohol Use
How long after wisdom teeth removal can I drink alcohol?
It’s best to wait at least 72 hours after wisdom teeth extraction before drinking alcohol. Alcohol can irritate the tissues in the extraction site and delay healing.
When can I vape after wisdom teeth removal?
We advise waiting as long as possible but a minimum of 72 hours after wisdom tooth extraction before you start vaping.
When can you smoke after wisdom teeth removal?
You should wait a minimum of 72 hours after wisdom tooth extraction before you start smoking. Doing so any earlier can increase your risk of dry socket, a painful condition that occurs when the blood clot at the extraction site becomes dislodged.
FAQ on Wisdom Teeth Recovery
When can I work out after wisdom teeth removal?
You can start light physical exercise within 3-5 days of having your wisdom teeth removed. If you experience any throbbing, bleeding, or pain, stop doing the activity and give yourself a few more days to heal and recover.
Can you control what you say after wisdom teeth removal?
You may not be able to control what you say after wisdom teeth removal because of the anesthesia used. However, these effects last for a short time, typically a few hours. Rest assured that most people do not say anything unusual or reveal their secrets after wisdom teeth removal.
How to put gauze in for wisdom teeth?
Place the gauze pads directly over the extraction site and bite down on it to hold it firmly in place. The pressure helps to stop the bleeding.
How long do you wear gauze after wisdom teeth removal?
You should wear the gauze for a minimum of 30-45 minutes after wisdom teeth removal. If you are still bleeding after this time, put a new piece of gauze over the surgical site.
How long do wisdom teeth hurt?
If there are no complications, you should heal completely and be pain-free in around 7 days. Any pain in the initial few days can be easily managed with over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen.
Why does my throat hurt after wisdom teeth removal?
Soreness in the surgical area at the back of the mouth can cause sore throat after wisdom teeth removal. This usually goes away in 3-5 days after the wisdom teeth are extracted.
What do wisdom teeth stitches look like?
Wisdom teeth stitches are usually dissolving sutures that disappear on their own in 7-10 days after the area has healed. If your dentist does not use dissolving stitches, you may need to go back into the office to have the stitches removed after 7-10 days.
When do wisdom teeth stitches dissolve?
Wisdom teeth stitches dissolve in 7-10 days on average but may take longer in some cases. Do not attempt to remove the stitches yourself.
Why didn’t I get stitches after wisdom teeth removal?
If your dentist performed minimal manipulation of the gums during wisdom teeth extraction and you are a healthy person with good immunity, then you may not need stitches after wisdom teeth extraction. The extraction site is expected to heal on its own without sutures.
How long until the holes from wisdom teeth close?
The holes from wisdom teeth close in about 6 weeks, at which time the indentation fills in and the surgical site is completely healed.
What happens if food gets stuck in wisdom teeth hole?
When you start eating after wisdom teeth removal, food particles can get lodged in the extraction site (wisdom tooth hole). This is nothing to worry about if it isn’t causing any pain. Leave it alone and avoid manipulating it too much. The food will eventually dislodge on its own.
How to get food out of wisdom teeth holes?
You can try gently rinsing your mouth with warm salt water. Avoid aggressive swishing in the area of the extraction. This can dislodge the blood clot and lead to painful dry socket.
How to clean wisdom teeth holes?
Your dentist may give you a syringe to flush the area. You can use warm salt water in the syringe to flush the socket clean, but be gentle.
How to use wisdom teeth syringe?
Simply fill the syringe with warm plain water or salt water. Place the tip of the syringe near the extraction site and gently push the plunger. Spit out the water and repeat until clean and clear water comes out. Don’t be alarmed if you see a small amount of blood when rinsing with a wisdom teeth syringe. You may need to do this 3-4 times a day for 2 weeks until the wound closes and heals.
How to clean wisdom teeth holes without syringe?
You can mix 1 teaspoon of salt in a glass of water and use it to rinse your mouth. Be gentle. Don’t swish too aggressively or you can dislodge the blood clot at the extraction site.
How to heal wisdom teeth fast?
The fastest way to heal wisdom teeth is to bite down gently on the gauze for as long as your dentist advises. Ice your face to keep the swelling down. Take pain medication as needed. Keep your mouth clean. Eat soft foods. Get plenty of rest for the first few days.
About the author
Dr. Greg Grillo
Dr. Greg Grillo DDS studied at the University of Washington where he received a bachelors degree with Honors and later attended dental school on the same campus. Following school Dr. Greg served in the United States Navy as a dental officer. During this time he received advanced training in specialty areas of dentistry while also treating families of members of the military.
As well as sharing valuable information on dentistry and oral health, Dr. Greg remains a practicing dentist to this day. He works with families in the Okanogan Valley where he lives with his wife and three children.