Wisdom Teeth: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Does everyone have to get his or her wisdom teeth removed?

No, the removal of asymptomatic wisdom teeth without evidence of active disease is considered preventative in most cases. From time to time, Dr. Kirsch and Dr. Jacobs see a patient whose wisdom teeth appear to have fit nicely in the mouth and thus don’t need removal, but they are still prone to disease and must be monitored for life.

What can happen if I do not have my wisdom teeth removed?

While pain is the most common symptom of wisdom teeth, the absence of pain does not always equal the absence of disease. We commonly see bone loss on adjacent teeth, infections, gum disease, front teeth misalignment, cavities and cysts associated with asymptomatic wisdom teeth.

When is the best time to get wisdom teeth removed?

Between the ages of 16-21 for most patients, before the roots have fully developed and entwined themselves in the nerves located in the jawbone, making removal much more complicated. Studies have shown that older patients are at higher risk for postoperative complications and delayed healing. Dr. Kirsch removed both of his own daughters’ wisdom teeth when they were 16 years old as well as his niece, nephew and children of his closest friends.

Do all four teeth have to be pulled?

Sometimes we only need to remove one or two, and sometimes three or four. We will assess your case thoroughly to determine the best course of action.

Is it true that the surgery takes less than an hour?

Most often, yes! The length of your procedure depends on the amount of teeth we are removing, the severity of impaction and several other factors. However, the typical surgery does take less than an hour, and we will keep you comfortable the whole time.

How long does recovery take after wisdom teeth removal?

Patients generally recover in the office for about 30 minutes after their procedure before going home. The first day of your recovery you will probably be too sleepy to do much, but most patients are back to their normal activities within 3-4 days.

Does it hurt to have your wisdom teeth removed?

NO! We pride ourselves on being able to remove your wisdom teeth without you feeling any pain. However, you may have soreness for a few days following the surgery as the anesthesia wears off. We will discuss pain control methods and provide you with any necessary prescriptions so that you remain comfortable at home as well.

Will I be awake for the extraction?

Most patients are sedated or asleep during their surgery. We have a variety of levels of anesthesia to accommodate different patients’ needs. We will discuss your anesthesia options during your consult visit.

What does “impacted” mean?

Impacted wisdom teeth are those that are not able to fully erupt through the gums. It is a very common condition, and the number one reason that wisdom teeth end up needing removal. In fact, 9 out of 10 people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth.

What is “dry socket”?

Dry socket is a temporary complication that arises when a blood clot becomes dislodged from the extraction site, exposing tissue. The condition can be painful, but luckily most cases can be avoided by following home-care instructions including the avoidance of straws and smoking.

How is a “dry socket” treated?

The doctor will place a small medicated packing into the site which provides immediate pain relief.

How long do you have to wait to eat after getting wisdom teeth pulled?

Patients are encouraged to begin eating as soon as they get home.

What if I have a question or problem when the office is closed?

Our doctors are available 24/7 for our patients. Simply call the emergency number and one of our doctors will promptly return your call.