Choosing to have wisdom teeth extracted is not always a straightforward decision, even if they are impacted. Not all wisdom teeth should be extracted, and you should consider the risks of wisdom teeth surgery versus the benefits of extraction.
You should have your wisdom teeth removed if:
- Your wisdom teeth are impacted and painful as they grow towards the second molars
- Your second or third molars (wisdom teeth) are infected or diseased
- The teeth are likely to cause orthodontic problems, such as crowding
- You’re at a high risk of developing tooth decay in the future
- You are at risk for periodontitis (gum disease) and related disorders (diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, etc.)
- You have recurring infections around or behind your back teeth
- You have a tumor or cyst near your wisdom tooth/teeth
- A wisdom tooth has become involved with the inferior alveolar nerve
You should probably not have your wisdom teeth removed if:
- Your jaw has the space to fit wisdom teeth without crowding
- You are in good health
- The teeth are not impacted
- You have TMJ and your wisdom teeth cause no symptoms
Pain is actually one of the worst indicators for wisdom tooth removal. You should not have wisdom teeth removed just because they are causing pain. Your dentist can help you better determine if the pain is likely to pass or last.
If you are in the middle of orthodontic treatment, such as braces, you should delay wisdom teeth surgery, if possible, until your treatment is complete.
Talk to your dentist about their assessment of your wisdom teeth with an x-ray to determine if a wisdom tooth extraction is right for you. If you do decide to proceed with removal, recovery will be your next step in research.
In many cases, you’ll be mostly recovered 3-4 days after wisdom teeth removal. It may take a week or more to heal after a complex surgery or if there were severe symptoms before your extraction.
Keep in mind that it takes 3-6 months for the tooth socket to heal completely. However, it is unlikely to cause any symptoms after 1-2 weeks have passed.\
For fast wisdom tooth surgery recovery:
Prevent dry socket, a painful complication of tooth extraction that occurs when you lose the blood clot too early from your healing tooth socket. Reduce your risk by avoiding straws, smoking, and vigorous rinsing for at least 3 days.
Elevate your head, especially at night, for the first 72 hours to prevent throbbing pain. Use a wedge pillow or stack multiple pillows.
Ice your cheeks for 36 hours to reduce inflammatory pain and swelling.
Gently rinse your mouth with salt water a few times each day. This can reduce inflammation and prevent infection. Do not close your mouth or swish vigorously — it can cause a dry socket.
Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications through day 2 of recovery. Ibuprofen is the most effective pain reliever for wisdom teeth surgery recovery.
Prevent dry mouth by nose breathing to cut down on your risk for postoperative infection. Use Biotene gel to keep the mouth moist if you can’t breathe through your nose.
Massage your jaw (with caution) to relieve your masseter muscle that may have been exhausted after staying open during your surgery.
Drink coconut water, which is loaded with important nutrients and may reduce inflammation. If the taste is off-putting, try my wisdom teeth pain relief smoothie.
Sleep as much as you can.
Avoid overusing medications by tapering off as soon as possible. You can use a pill cutter to divide doses in half, particularly for strong prescription opioids.