Wisdom Teeth FAQs

What are wisdom teeth?

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

At what age do 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.

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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. Most people are unaware of their wisdom teeth until they become symptomatic.

What are some symptoms of wisdom teeth complications?

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

Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

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

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What are impacted wisdom teeth?

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

What are some problems that can arise if I do not remove my wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth can cause further dental problems, including damage to surrounding teeth, jaw damage (cyst or tumor growth), inflamed/infected gum tissues, cavities, alignment problems, or sinus issues.

What makes a wisdom tooth more difficult to remove than other teeth?

If a wisdom tooth is impacted, it is in a more angled position and will need to be sectioned into pieces when being extracted. For teeth that are not yet erupted, Dr. Klausner must make an incision in the tissue before accessing the impacted tooth.

In addition, we also have to consider the root anatomy of wisdom teeth. A typical wisdom tooth has multiple roots. Wisdom teeth can be shaped in a variety of ways. And while they initially grow as separate teeth, some will fuse together. Wisdom teeth are located relatively close to a nerve, and their removal may be further complicated when the roots or the teeth themselves are irregularly shaped.

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How much does wisdom teeth removal cost?

Every case varies because the treatment is dependent on the position of each tooth and the complexity of its removal. We also take into consideration dental insurance. For more information on the cost of wisdom teeth extraction, please contact our office.

How long does local anesthesia last?

The numbing effects of the local anesthetic vary, but some can last up to 8 hours. In addition, we routinely give pain medication through an intravenous line following the completion of surgery.

Can I be sedated during my wisdom teeth removal?

Yes, sedation is an option for most patients. However, Dr. Klausner will review your health history, allergies and medications before proceeding with his treatment recommendation.

How is the sedation administered?

Sedation is administered through an intravenous (IV) line in your arm. Once administered, you will be completely unaware of the procedure. Supplemental oxygen is delivered through a nasal-breathing apparatus.

Will an anesthesiologist be present?

Dr. Klausner is a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and is licensed to administer intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Dr. Klausner has completed the required anesthesiology training and evaluation required and continues to maintain his education in order to administer anesthesia in the office. In addition to Dr. Klausner’s expertise and training, two of our certified surgical assistants are in the room with Dr. Klausner throughout the entire procedure, monitoring the patient’s vital signs and breathing.

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Will I feel pain during the procedure?

No, we will make sure you are comfortable and feel no pain during the procedure. Depending on the complexity of the extraction, there are different anesthetic options that can be administered during the procedure to minimize possible discomfort during the extraction. Please visit our Anesthesia Page 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?

The recovery period often depends on the patient, but on average, we usually estimate 5-7 days. The third or fourth day is usually when patients experience the peak of discomfort.

What should I take to alleviate the pain after my extractions?

Following the after-care instructions given to you by our assistants will make the recovery process easier. We recommend icing 30 minutes on, 30 minutes off. Depending on your health/medical history, we may also prescribe pain medication to use after the wisdom teeth removal procedure.

Will I have sutures (stitches) where the wisdom teeth were removed?

Not everyone gets sutures placed, but if you do, they will dissolve on their own within a week. If, after a few weeks, your stitches are still present and need to be removed, please contact our office to have them taken out.

I have something white and sharp poking out of the gum near where the extraction was. Should I be concerned?

It is not uncommon for patients to discover pieces of the bone or tooth working their way to the surface of the extraction site after the removal of wisdom teeth. This is known as a “bone spur” and is a common occurrence so no need to worry. If pieces of the tooth’s bony socket break off, your body will naturally begin to reject them, causing them to penetrate through your gum tissue. Normally, they eventually come out on their own. If this does not happen, please give our office a call and Dr. Klausner can easily remove any remaining fragments.

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Will I have nerve damage?

While nerve damage is a potential complication associated with wisdom teeth removal, Dr. Klausner will do his best to minimize that possibility. Panoramic x-rays and 3D CBCT scans allow us to see the root tips and evaluate the positioning of the wisdom teeth, and they show us the location of your nerve. If the root is close to the nerve, Dr. Klausner may opt to perform a Coronectomy. The crown of the tooth will be removed, but the roots are left intact. The roots will heal over with the bone and eventually move away from the root.

What are dry sockets?

Wisdom tooth removal leaves 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.

What are symptoms of a dry socket?

Typically occurring 3-4 day after an extraction, dry socket 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 my wisdom teeth are removed?

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 days to clear up. Use an ice pack as directed by our office. We routinely administer steroids in an IV line to minimize swelling.

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Is it safe to brush my teeth after getting wisdom teeth removed?

Avoid brushing your teeth for the first 24 hours. After that, you may begin to brush your teeth, but be sure to be gentle around, or even avoid, the extraction sites.

Can I gargle after getting my wisdom teeth removed?

Avoid gargling for the first 24 hours. After that, you are able to SWISH LIGHTLY with warm salt water or mouth wash, but do not vigorously gargle until you are cleared to do so at your follow up appointment.

What can I eat after having my wisdom teeth extracted?

Immediately following surgery, we recommend starting off with clear liquids like iced tea, apple juice and water. If the patient is able to handle clear liquids well, we recommend making it dairy-based, especially before taking any pain medication. Dairy includes ice cream, milkshakes (without a straw), yogurt, pudding and cottage cheese.

Next, we recommend sticking with soft, cooler foods, including, but not limited to, apple sauce, mashed potatoes, mac ’n cheese, steamed vegetables, well-cooked pasta, cream of wheat, soft fish, smooth soups, pancakes, canned fruit, beans and scrambled eggs.

Foods to avoid include spicy foods, anything with seeds, hard or chewy foods (like chips or crackers), acidic foods and drinks, and anything with small particles, for example, broccoli.

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How soon can I work out after getting my wisdom teeth removed?

We recommend waiting 3-4 days following wisdom teeth removal before exercising or participating in any vigorous activity. Exercising too early could aggravate the blood clot and lengthen your recovery time as well as increase any 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, but keep in mind, the third or fourth day is usually when patients experience the peak of discomfort. However, it is safe to fly or travel after surgery, as there should be no adverse effects that cause bleeding or impede the healing process.

Is it safe to smoke after getting my wisdom teeth removed?

We recommend waiting at least 48 hours to smoke. A blood clot needs to fully develop over the extraction site in order to heal it, and the act of inhaling will cause the clot to burst. This would delay the healing process and potentially lead to dry sockets.