Wisdom Teeth

  • Medical Author:
    Steven B. Horne, DDS

    Dr. Steve Horne began his career at Brigham Young University obtaining his BA in English. He earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery in 2007 from the University of Southern California where his pursuit for academic excellence landed him on the Dean's List. He was recognized for his superior clinical skills and invited to help teach other dental students in courses on restorative dentistry, prosthodontics, and tooth anatomy. During dental school, he provided dental care for underserved populations of Los Angeles and Orange County, Mexico, and Costa Rica with AYUDA. Following dental school, Dr. Horne entered active duty with the U.S. Army and practiced dentistry at Fort Knox, Kentucky, for four years. During this time, he was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, and received multiple Army Achievement Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, and served as Company Commander. Dr. Horne currently practices full time at Torrey Pines Dental Arts in La Jolla, California, as a general dentist. Dr. Horne is a member of the American Dental Association, the California Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Horne is married to his wife, Christy, and they have a chocolate Labrador named Roscoe.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

View Cosmetic Dentistry: Before and After Slideshow Pictures

What can I eat after getting my wisdom teeth out?

While it is hard to eat for the first few days following tooth extraction, it is important not to skip meals and to stay well nourished to help maintain strength and heal faster. For the first day or two, it is best to eat mostly soft foods or liquids like smoothies, yogurt, shakes, pureed foods, soups, pudding, etc. It is best to avoid drinking through a straw and eating extremely hot or spicy foods. Also, foods that can get caught in the extraction socket like nuts, rice, seeds, and popcorn should be avoided. As the extraction areas start to heal, regular foods that require chewing can be slowly introduced back into the diet depending on the comfort of the person.

What are the potential risks and complications of wisdom teeth extraction?

Although the postoperative recovery is usually uneventful, problems can occur. The most common adverse occurrence of a wisdom tooth extraction is a dry socket or alveolar osteitis. This condition is created when the blood clot in the surgical site accidentally dislodges, leaving exposed bone Once this occurs, the bone along the extraction socket can become inflamed and painful. If it happens, a dry socket will typically develop between two and five days after the extraction and will produce a bad smell/taste in the mouth along with constant throbbing pain. If a dry socket occurs, the surgeon should be contacted. This complication is easily treated and often resolves quickly with a packing medication or stimulation of a new blood clot. More serious complications are rare but can include injury to the adjacent inferior alveolar nerve for wisdom teeth on the bottom of the mouth (mandible), sinus perforation for wisdom teeth on the top of the mouth (maxilla), damage to adjacent teeth, prolonged numbness or altered sensation of the tongue, lip, or gum tissue (paresthesia), or problems with the temporomandibular joint as a result of trauma to the area. The potential risks of wisdom tooth extraction should be reviewed with a dentist. If a wisdom tooth is deemed compromised, removal of the tooth in adolescence is advantageous to extracting the tooth in late adulthood. The extraction procedure and healing both become more difficult as the person gets older. Discussion with a dentist about the condition of the wisdom teeth and timeline for the extractions is important and will help minimize complications.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/26/2016

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