What to Expect After Wisdom Teeth Extraction

Maybe you’ve seen one of the many viral videos. The script is the same — a person saying funny and zany things with their mouth full of gauze after having their wisdom teeth extracted. Before the anesthesia has fully worn off, they speak their mind as their head remains in the clouds.

Statistics show that about 5 million Americans get their wisdom teeth removed every year, so chances are you’ll end up parting ways with your wisdom teeth. But after seeing these videos and hearing about the experiences of others, you might feel a little frightened of the procedure. Here’s what you can expect after getting your final adult molars extracted.

Is it time for your wisdom teeth to be removed? If so, come see the team at Smiles N Braces Family Dental in Danville, California. We’re a full-service dental practice offering cosmetic dentistry, implants, orthodontics, veneers, and sedation dentistry. Reshma Nazir, DDS, has over 25 years of experience providing the highest level of care to patients of all ages.

What are wisdom teeth?

What do wisdom teeth and the appendix have in common? If you guessed that they’re both body parts that no longer serve a purpose, you’re right. Wisdom teeth, when they grow in correctly, are another pair of molars you can use to grind up food. Thousands of years ago, before the advent of cooking, these molars would help you break down raw meat and tough, fibrous plants. Our evolved diets don’t really need another set of molars, especially when they can be so troublesome.

Why ‘wisdom’ teeth?

Wisdom teeth get their name from the age at which they start to appear. These final adult molars erupt somewhere in your late teens or early 20s — the time when you should (ideally) increase in maturity and wisdom.

Time to say goodbye

In many people, wisdom teeth arrive more than fashionably late. Your second molars probably arrived around ages 12-13, and there might not be room for another set of teeth. When there isn’t any room, wisdom teeth become impacted, or trapped below the gum tissue. Impacted teeth can lead to a host of oral health problems, including:

If you’re experiencing any of these, it’s time for extraction.

Life after extraction

Dr. Nazir goes over prep for the procedure and how to get ready for extraction. One part of prep won’t apply until after the surgery — you need to make sure you have transportation to get home.

On the day of your surgery, pain and swelling are normal. You’ll likely need to use gauze to soak up the blood near the surgery site, which is totally normal and should start to ease after the first 24 hours. Dr. Nazir tells you what painkillers to take, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

Stick to soft foods for a couple of days, which is a great excuse to drink milkshakes or eat ice cream. When you do drink liquids, don’t use a straw. Most people return to normal activities after 2-3 days, but you need to stay away from foods with small, sharp particles (popcorn, seeds, rice) or sharp edges (chips, nuts) for a while longer.


Dr. Nazir gives you complete aftercare instructions to prevent infection and ensure proper healing. Dry sockets are the most common complications from wisdom teeth surgery. To prevent them, avoid strenuous activity, follow all food instructions, and gently rinse your mouth with warm salt several times a day during the week after your surgery. A few days after surgery, schedule a follow-up appointment to check the healing process and remove any sutures.

When it’s time to get your wisdom teeth extracted, Smiles N Braces Family Dental can help. Call our Danville office today or book your appointment online.

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