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Wisdom Teeth Extractions - Cambridge, OH | Marietta, OH

A Trusted Oral Surgeon Performing Gentle Tooth Removal

The average mouth is designed to hold a grand total of 28 teeth comfortably – but actually, virtually all patients have 32. These remaining four teeth are the last to emerge into a healthy smile, usually when you’re in your late teenage years or early adult years. They’re the third molars, more commonly known as “wisdom teeth,” and because of their late arrival and lack of overall space, a wide variety of potentially serious health problems can occur. In many cases, Dr. Jeff Lee recommends the surgical removal of your wisdom teeth to preserve overall oral health. Contact our team at Muskingum Valley Oral Surgery today to schedule a consultation!

Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

Smiling woman prepared for wisdom tooth removal in Cambridge, OH

It is widely believed that the third molars played an important role in the mouths of ancient humans. Back then, people survived on a relatively coarse diet and did not have as many options for keeping their teeth clean, and as a result early tooth loss was relatively common; hence, having an extra set of molars was helpful in those times. However, the quality of today’s dental care means people are retaining their full smiles, and as a result there’s rarely enough room for wisdom teeth to erupt without causing complications.

Why are Wisdom Tooth Extractions Recommended?

Wisdom tooth trapped under gums and pushing into other teeth

If wisdom teeth are able to fully erupt into a patient’s existing smile, aligned properly and surrounded by healthy gum tissue, they can be retained. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. Instead, these four teeth are commonly subject to sideways growth, partial eruption, failed eruption, overcrowding, and other serious concerns that expose smiles to infection and pain. In fact, the natural alignment of teeth can be threatened, and tumors and cysts may form. Because of this, Dr. Lee typically recommends that wisdom teeth are removed early on as a preventive measure.

How Do I Know If an Extraction is Needed?

X-ray showing impacted wisdom tooth in lower jaw

We’ll need to take X-rays of your jaw and check your bite before deciding whether or not extraction is the right course of action for you. If we discover that the wisdom teeth are trapped under the gums or are causing your other teeth to shift out of place, we’re likely to recommend extraction as a solution. Also, if you notice oral pain, shifting teeth, bleeding gums, or facial swelling, you should contact us as soon as possible for a consultation.

What Can I Expect During the Wisdom Tooth Extraction Process?

If removal of the wisdom teeth is deemed necessary, the procedure will be handled as precisely and comfortably as possible. Our team discusses surgical risks beforehand, and general anesthesia is available for those who are anxious or have a complex case involving impaction or other concerns. Removing wisdom teeth can be a simple or complex procedure. Once we’ve successfully completed the extraction, Dr. Lee sutures the gums and provides gauze to minimize bleeding. Our team at Muskingum Valley Oral Surgery provides detailed post-op instructions so your recovery proceeds smoothly.

On the day of the extraction, you should make sure your teeth are clean before your appointment. Ask a responsible adult to come with you; you’ll need them to drive you home later. Due to the sedative used, we recommend not eating or drinking anything for at least six hours before the surgery.

Wisdom Tooth Extraction Aftercare

During the first day, take antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications as directed, and apply an ice pack to any swollen areas at 20-minute intervals. Plan on a fully liquid diet for the next 24 hours. On the second day, you should stop using ice packs, and you can start working your way back up to soft foods such as scrambled eggs. After that point, you should start reintroducing foods that are more difficult to chew into your diet. If the pain becomes severe or isn’t relieved by medication, call our office. Recovery usually happens without additional complications, but you should let Dr. Lee know if you experience dry socket, an infection, numbness, or other issues.

Wisdom Teeth Extraction FAQs

Illustration of an impacted wisdom tooth

Do you have any questions about wisdom teeth or what will happen during and after the extraction process? Dr. Lee has the answers to all of your questions. Below are some common examples of things our patients often ask before wisdom tooth extractions; check to see if your own question has been answered. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on this page, please call our office; our team is always happy to help.

What Can I Eat After Wisdom Teeth are Removed?

You should switch to a liquid diet immediately after the surgery. Make sure you’re getting plenty of water; apple juice and 7-up can be good choices as well. If you find that you can easily handle clear liquids, it’s a good idea to establish a dairy base with yogurt, pudding, cottage cheese, ice cream, and milkshakes without a straw. During your recovery, you should largely stick to soft, cooler foods like apple sauce, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, soft fish, smooth soups, and pancakes. You should stay away from spicy foods or anything hard and chewy until your mouth has fully healed.

Can I Work Out or Travel After Having Wisdom Teeth Removed?

It’s important not to push yourself too hard for a few days after the extraction. Exercise could aggravate the blood clot protecting the surgical area, and that could extend recovery time. You should wait at least three or four days before engaging in any sort of rigorous physical activity. As for traveling, it’s generally safe to fly or travel after surgery in that it won’t have any effect on the healing process. That said, for the sake of your own comfort, it’s generally recommended to wait for at least a day or two afterwards.

What Happens if I Have a Dry Socket?

A dry socket occurs if the blood clot is dislodged from the extraction site, or if it never forms in the first place. When it happens, you’ll likely experience an ache or throbbing pain in your gum or jaw, and you may even start to experience an unpleasant taste. Leaving a dry socket alone could complicate the recovery process, so as soon as you think you might have this condition, call us for an appointment. We can remove any debris that was trapped in the socket and cover the area with a medicated dressing to protect the area until it heals.

When’s the Right Age for Wisdom Tooth Removal?

There’s not a specific age that wisdom teeth need to be extracted by. However, delaying the extraction could increase the risk of complications occurring, and the removal process will become more difficult once the teeth become entrenched in the jaw. For that reason, we will carefully monitor your wisdom teeth and let you know when the best time to have them removed is. Most wisdom teeth come in between the ages of 17 and 25, so the extraction, if necessary, will most likely be some time performed during this period.