Reviewed by Dr. Benjamin Foley and Dr. Thao Le

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of teeth to emerge in our mouth, usually appearing between the ages of 17 and 25. As these teeth come in so late, they often cause dental health problems due to insufficient space in the jaw.

In this blog post, we will explore the importance of wisdom teeth, the potential benefits of having them removed, and provide practical advice for anyone considering the procedure.

Table of Contents

The Role of Wisdom Teeth in Dental Health

Wisdom teeth were essential to our ancestors who had larger jaws and diets high in coarse, fibrous foods. However, today’s modern diet and our comparatively smaller jaws render these teeth less necessary.

Wisdom teeth can cause problems if they become impacted, meaning they are unable to fully emerge and remain trapped below the gum line or develop at an improper angle, potentially leading to pain, infection, crowding, tooth decay or even damage to adjacent teeth.

Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to be Removed?

The primary reason for wisdom teeth extraction is to prevent the development of such complications from ever occurring. For example, an impacted wisdom tooth can lead to the formation of a cyst, which in turn can cause extensive damage to the surrounding bone and dental structures. Removing these teeth preemptively can help maintain overall oral health.

In some cases, wisdom teeth removal may be necessary to correct an existing misalignment or to provide more space for orthodontic treatment. In other instances, a wisdom tooth may need to be extracted due to infection or decay in order to protect adjacent teeth.

For more information about impacted wisdom teeth, read 3 Signs Your Wisdom Teeth Might Be Impacted.

Key Takeaway

The primary reason for wisdom teeth extraction is to prevent the development of complications from occurring. Removal may be necessary if the molar is impacted or to correct an existing misalignment or to provide space for orthodontic treatment.

When Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Not Necessary?

In some cases, wisdom teeth removal might not be necessary. If your wisdom teeth have fully erupted, do not cause pain or issues with adjacent teeth, and can be easily maintained with proper oral hygiene practices, extraction may not be required. Alternatively, less invasive treatments, such as orthodontics or tooth extraction, might be considered if the primary concern is crowding of the teeth.

Preparing for Wisdom Teeth Removal

If you and your oral surgeon decide that wisdom teeth removal is the best course of action, here are some essential steps to take before your procedure:

  1. Schedule time off – Recovery typically takes a few days, so prepare to take time off from work or school.
  2. Make transportation arrangements – Due to sedation, you’ll need someone to drive you home after the procedure.
  3. Follow pre-operative instructions – Your surgeon will provide you with specific guidelines to follow, such as fasting before surgery or ceasing certain medications.

Aftercare and Side Effects

Taking proper care of your mouth after the surgery is crucial to ensure smooth healing. Here are some guidelines for managing potential side effects and aftercare:

  1. Pain management – Your surgeon will recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or prescribe pain medication to manage discomfort.
  2. Swelling and bruising – Use ice packs, rinse with warm salt water, eat soft foods, and elevate your head while resting to help minimize swelling and bruising.
  3. Bleeding – Gauze pads can be used to control bleeding in the first 24 hours after surgery. Avoid strenuous activities and avoid using straws, smoking, or any other actions that could dislodge the blood clot and cause dry socket.

Read After Wisdom Tooth Removal for more information about post-operative care.

Practical Advice for Wisdom Teeth Removal

If you have been advised to have your wisdom teeth removed, it is important to note that the procedure itself is relatively straightforward and complications are rare. Your dentist or oral surgeon will provide detailed instructions on pre and post-operative care, so be sure to follow these guidelines closely.

It is also important to discuss any concerns you may have about the procedure before the surgery takes place. This allows your dentist or oral surgeon time to answer any questions and address any potential risks associated with wisdom teeth removal.

If you still have questions about the procedure, read 10 Questions to Ask Your Oral Surgeon Before Surgery.

For more information about wisdom tooth removal, read Why See An Oral Surgeon For Wisdom Tooth Removal?

Oral Surgeon Boulder, CO

Wisdom teeth removal is a relatively simple procedure, but it requires the expertise of an experienced dental professional. 

At Foley & Le Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, we understand that no two patients are alike, which is why our team provides personalized treatment plans tailored to each individual’s needs.

Our oral surgeons will assess your individual case and provide a comprehensive explanation of the procedure, potential risks, and post-operative care. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

If you are searching for wisdom teeth removal in Boulder, CO, or wisdom teeth removal near me, contact Foley & Le Oral Surgeons. Call (303) 444-2255 to book an appointment or complete the online booking form.

FAQs About Wisdom Tooth Removal

How Many Days Should I Take Off for Wisdom Tooth Recovery?

Most people return to work or school a few days after wisdom tooth removal. However, your oral surgeon will give you specific instructions based on your specific procedure and health history.

What Is the Most Painful Day After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

The most painful day after wisdom tooth removal is typically the same day as the procedure. Swelling and discomfort should subside within a few days, but your oral surgeon may prescribe pain medication to manage any lingering symptoms.

How Long After Wisdom Teeth Removal Can I Eat Chips?

You should avoid chips or crunchy food like nuts, seeds and popcorn for two weeks after surgery.

Can I Go to the Beach After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

After wisdom teeth removal, you may feel weak and light-headed. It is best to rest and stay out of the heat for the first 24 hours. You should wait 2 weeks before swimming in the ocean.

Can I Take Edibles After Wisdom Tooth Surgery?

Edibles can interact with the other pain medication that has been prescribed and should be avoided until you have discontinued all prescription pain medication.

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