Wisdom tooth removal, to most teens and adults, sounds like a nightmare. The very thought of someone pulling out your teeth is enough to send shivers down your spine. But wisdom tooth removal doesn’t have to be such a scary experience. Here’s everything you need to know about wisdom tooth removal, from the different procedures to what you can expect during recovery.

If your teen needs their wisdom teeth removed and your searching online for the best wisdom teeth removal in Denver CO, wisdom teeth removal in Aurora CO, or wisdom teeth removal in Thornton CO we have you covered. Call (303) 953-8801 to book an appointment with Dr. Jodi or email [email protected].

Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom tooth removal is a common dental procedure. Wisdom teeth are the third molars in the back of your mouth and typically erupt (or come in) during your late teenage years or early adulthood. 

Wisdom teeth often become impacted, meaning they grow at an angle or get stuck behind your other teeth. When wisdom teeth become impacted, they can crowd or damage your nearby teeth, cause swelling, bad breath, and a host of other future problems.

  • Infection: When wisdom teeth become impacted or partially erupted, it’s easy for bacteria to get trapped around the tooth, which can cause gum disease to develop.
  • Cysts: If wisdom teeth are left, fluid-filled sacs can form around them. Over time, these sacs can damage the adjacent teeth’ roots and even the jaw bone.
  • Tooth Decay: It’s difficult to clean wisdom teeth that are partially erupted, which means they’re more likely to develop cavities.

Why Remove Them During Teen Years?

The teen years are the best time to remove wisdom teeth because wisdom teeth roots are not fully embedded in your jawbone, making the removal process simpler and more manageable. Additionally, teenagers typically heal faster than adults, so they experience less discomfort and swelling following wisdom tooth removal. The age when most teens have their wisdom teeth removed is usually between 16-19 years old.

Consultation

Your wisdom teeth removal journey will begin with a consultation with your dentist or oral surgeon. During this appointment, your dentist will evaluate the position of your wisdom teeth and determine if they need to be removed. They will also discuss any risks or complications associated with wisdom tooth removal and your sedation options. X-rays will also be taken at this appointment to further evaluate the best course of action for you.

Sedation Methods

Wisdom tooth removal is typically performed under local anesthesia, numbing the area around your wisdom teeth. Other sedation options are available for patients who experience anxiety or fear during dental procedures.

  • Local anesthesia: With local anesthesia, you will be awake during the wisdom tooth removal procedure but will not feel any pain. Your dentist will numb the area around your wisdom teeth with an injection.
  • Oral Sedation: Oral sedation is taken in pill form before your procedure. It will make you drowsy, but you will still be awake during the wisdom tooth removal.
  • IV Sedation: IV sedation is administered through a vein in your arm and will make you feel sleepy and relaxed during the wisdom tooth removal procedure. You may not remember much, if anything, about the wisdom tooth removal procedure afterward.
  • General Anesthesia: General anesthesia is a type of deep sedation where you will be asleep during the wisdom tooth removal surgery. This type of sedation is typically only used for very complex cases or patients with a high level of anxiety.

The Procedure

Wisdom tooth removal is typically an outpatient procedure, which means you will go home the same day. The wisdom tooth removal procedure generally takes 30-45 minutes but can take longer depending on the number of wisdom teeth being removed, the complexity of the surgery, and the level of sedation used. 

After the Surgery

Most people feel back to their usual selves within a few days after wisdom tooth removal surgery. However, it is important to take it easy and avoid strenuous activity to give your mouth time to heal. To make your recovery a smooth one, your dentist or oral surgeon will provide you with specific post-operative instructions. Following these instructions can help ensure a speedy recovery and return to your normal activities.

Bleeding

You may experience some bleeding immediately after wisdom tooth removal, and this is normal and will usually stop within 24 hours. To help control the bleeding, bite down on gauze for 30-45 minutes after surgery. If bleeding continues, you can also bite down on a tea bag for 5-10 minutes. The tea has tannins which help to constrict blood vessels and stop bleeding. If bleeding continues to be an issue, contact your dentist or oral surgeon.

Swelling

Swelling is also common after wisdom tooth removal. To help reduce swelling, apply a cold compress or ice pack to your face for the first 24-48 hours after surgery. After that, you can switch to a warm compress for 20 minutes at a time to help with discomfort. (Note: Always wrap ice packs in a towel before applying to your face, never apply directly to the skin without a barrier.)

Pain

You will likely experience some pain and discomfort after wisdom tooth removal. Over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help ease the pain. Your dentist may also prescribe you stronger pain medication if needed. You will likely feel the most pain the first few days after surgery. It is important to take your pain medication as directed and never exceed the recommended dosage.

Nausea

Some people may experience nausea after wisdom tooth removal due to the anesthesia. If this is the case, drink clear fluids and eat light foods. You should also avoid drinking any fluids that are hot, caffeinated, or carbonated.

Diet

After wisdom tooth removal, it is important to stick to a soft food diet. This means avoiding any hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that could irritate your surgical site. Some good soft food options include:

  • Smoothies
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Yogurt
  • Applesauce
  • Soup
  • Eggs
  • Cottage cheese

You should also avoid drinking hot, caffeinated, or carbonated beverages as they can irritate your surgical site. Stick to cool, clear fluids like water and juice for the first few days after surgery.

Oral Hygiene

It is also important to practice good oral hygiene after wisdom tooth removal. Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. Be careful around the surgical site and avoid brushing too vigorously. If you have stitches, be sure to brush gently around them. You should also rinse your mouth with salt water several times a day. (To make salt water, mix 1 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water to make salt water.)

Risks

While wisdom tooth removal is a very common procedure, there are always risks associated with any surgery. Some of the risks may include:

  • Bleeding: As with any surgery, there is a risk of bleeding. Monitor the gauze placed over the surgical site and replace it as needed. If you see continuous bleeding, contact your dentist or oral surgeon.
  • Infection: Even with the use of antibiotics, there is always a slight risk of infection. Be sure to follow all postoperative instructions to help reduce this risk.
  • Dry Socket: Dry socket is a condition that can occur when the blood clot that forms in the wisdom tooth socket after surgery is dislodged. This can happen if you smoke, drink through a straw, spit a lot or brush your teeth too vigorously after wisdom tooth removal. Dry socket is usually painful and can prolong your healing time.
  • Nerve Damage: There is a very small risk of damage to the nerves located near wisdom teeth. In most cases, this damage is temporary and will resolve on its own. However, in very rare cases, the damage may be permanent.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Denver

Wisdom teeth removal can be a daunting experience, especially if your teen is worried about pain or anesthesia. If you’re searching online for the best wisdom teeth removal in Denver CO, wisdom teeth removal in Aurora CO, or wisdom teeth removal in Thornton CO we have you covered. If your teen is experiencing wisdom tooth pain, our team of highly trained professionals will make sure your wisdom tooth removal is as anxiety and pain-free as possible.

Visit us in Denver at Denver Youth Dental and Vision and Hampden Youth Dentistry and Orthodontics. We also serve the Thornton and Aurora population. Visit us at Aurora Youth Dental and Vision and Thornton Youth Dentistry. We aim to help you make the best decision for your child’s smile. Call (303) 953-8801 to book an appointment with Dr. Jodi or email [email protected]. We look forward to helping you with your dental needs!  

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is a wisdom tooth extraction?

The cost of wisdom tooth removal can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the procedure and whether you have insurance.

Can a wisdom tooth make your other teeth hurt?

Wisdom teeth can cause pain in other teeth if they become impacted and push on the adjacent teeth. Wisdom teeth can also cause overcrowding, leading to pain and discomfort.

When can I use a straw after wisdom tooth extraction?

You should avoid using a straw for at least the first 7 days after wisdom tooth removal. Sucking on a straw can cause the blood clot in the wisdom tooth socket to become dislodged, leading to dry socket.