Wisdom Teeth Removal - Why?, Healing and Foods to Eat After
In this article we will talk about wisdom teeth and answer some of the most common questions around wisdom teeth removal.
What are Wisdom Teeth and Why Do They Need to be Removed?
The third set of molars located at the back of your mouth are called wisdom teeth. The word ‘wisdom’ comes from ‘wiser’ and implies that you are older (and therefore wiser) when these teeth emerge. They are the last permanent set of human teeth to pop out of your gums.
When Do Wisdom Teeth Come In?
Most individuals begin to develop their wisdom teeth when they are between the ages of 17 and 21. However, it is not unusual for wisdom teeth to poke their crowns outside this age bracket. It is worth noting that some people never develop wisdom teeth. Even though they are present deeper in the skull structure hidden underneath your gums. This is due to evolutionary genetics. A study (Jung and Cho, 2013) uncovered that out of almost 4000 participants, at least 53% individuals had one or more wisdom teeth.
Unfortunately, wisdom tooth development may not be a piece of cake for everyone. When wisdom teeth break through the surface of the gum, it can be incredibly painful. If your wisdom teeth are not causing dental complications, then removing them is not recommended.
Wisdom Teeth Impacted
However, it is common for wisdom teeth to be ‘impacted’. The teeth are positioned such that they do not have enough room to emerge. Mainly due to teeth growing at an angle to other teeth and insufficient space in the mouth. To avoid dental complications, dentists recommend extracting and getting rid of your wisdom teeth before they get a chance to wreak havoc in your mouth. If you wait too long, you could find yourself in a position where you have to worry about getting surgery or temporarily lose some movement in your jaw.
Plus, food can get trapped in improperly or partially developed wisdom teeth. This can cause plaque and bacteria to flourish. It can also cause dental cavities, tooth decay, cellulitis, oral soft tissue infection, abscess (buildup of pus in wisdom tooth or surrounding tissue), cysts, and benign growths in your mouth. You will need to consult a dentist so that they can inspect your mouth. This may include use a dental x-ray to assess whether the organization of teeth in your mouth calls for a wisdom tooth extraction or not. Fortunately, removing wisdom teeth (if they are caught early in their development) is fairly easy and takes anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour in most circumstances.
How Long Does it Take for Wisdom Teeth to Heal?
Most patients who get their wisdom teeth removed are curious about ‘how long does it take wisdom teeth to heal?’. Healing and recovery for wisdom teeth can take up to two weeks of time. During this period, you might experience swelling in your mouth and cheeks, especially around the gum area. Some patients may report stiffness in the jaw. Also a tingling sensation at the back of their mouth where they want to flick their tongue and poke at the area where the wisdom tooth was. Most commonly, patients report occasional pain and an unpleasant taste in their mouth. However, most patients will be relieved to know that most of their discomfort will fade away in the first three or four days after the wisdom tooth removal. Meanwhile, the tooth hole (where the wisdom tooth was) will be completely filled in six weeks.
Recovering from wisdom tooth removal can be uncomfortable, but there are plenty of things that you can do to brave through this tricky period in your oral health journey. For example, painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen work wonders in eliminating the excruciating pain felt immediately when you reach home from the dentist, after getting your wisdom tooth removed. Your dentist should recommend the right at home products to provide comfort during recovery.
Depending on the severity of your extraction, your dentist may also recommend avoiding the following:
- Hot drinks and spicy food
- Driving around for long hours
- Using a straw as it strains the mouth
- Hard and/or chewy food items
- Strenuous activity and workouts
- Excessively spitting and rinsing your mouth
- Smoking and drinking alcohol
What Should I Eat After Getting My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
When you get your wisdom tooth removed, you might notice that your gum, jaw, overall teeth movement may not be as flexible as it was (on the side of the mouth with the fresh extraction site). Since molars (flat teeth located at the rear of your mouth) do most of the work when we eat food, it might be difficult for you to grind, crush, and chew food from that part of your mouth. For this reason, it is critical that the food and drink that you consume after your surgery need to be soft, liquidly, and nutritional. Most people might find it acceptable to survive on a diet of cold foods and ice cream for weeks after their tooth removal. This is not recommended! You need to be careful about getting enough nutrition. Especially after wisdom tooth removal so that the tooth extraction site can heal quicker.
Foods to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal
Here are some foods that are delicious, nutritional, and will not cause any discomfort:
If cooked well, soups can be incredibly flavorsome and delicious. Plus, they are packed with carbohydrates, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. From tomato basil soup to the classic chicken noodle soup, just make sure you let it cool for a bit before enjoying your soup!
If you’re craved food that is not liquidly, then mashed potatoes are the way to go. Adding milk and cream can soften their texture and garnishes can boost their flavor. Plus, just a few bites are enough to provide you with the calories, carbohydrates, and proteins that you need.
Made from whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, smoothies can help you get through the post-surgery period after getting your wisdom tooth extracted. Add minimal sugar content and more of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber.
Do you find that soups and smoothies take too long to prepare? Then a good old scrambled egg with a dash of salt and pepper might do the trick. They are a nutritional source of protein, minerals, and vitamins. You will find that they are easy to chew and swallow after surgery.
Macaroni and cheese
A week after your wisdom tooth removal, you can begin incorporating semi-solid foods in your diet. Oatmeal and toast are popular choices, but there is nothing as fulfilling as macaroni and cheese. Treat yourself to one for being so patient with your recovery process. You’ve earned it!
Is There Any Medical Treatment for Wisdom Teeth Removal?
If you have concerns about the pain following wisdom teeth removal, talk to your dentist about solutions for managing the pain. Typically OTC painkillers are the most commonly prescribed medicine. They can help you fare through the pain when your wisdom tooth is removed. Following some extensive oral surgeries a stronger prescription painkiller might be prescribed. There are some topical options for post wisdom teeth removal. Sam Low, DDS, MS, Med suggests, “After wisdom teeth are removed, our patients can experience pain and swelling of the jaw. AO ProVantage Gel with its antioxidant and antibacterial properties can help sooth tissue and create a more acceptable experience for the days following (wisdom teeth removal) with speaking and eating.”