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Wisdom Teeth, notes for the wise

Updated on September 17, 2014

Wisdom teeth the ins and outs!

Wisdom teeth! Not perhaps the most sexy topic but if you have wisdom teeth that are giving you pain, its information you'll need to know. Here, you will find possible reasons for wisdom teeth surgery, symptoms of wisdom tooth infection, what to do if you get a wisdom tooth infection, things to do before you have a wisdom tooth extraction, what to eat and what not to eat after wisdom teeth surgery, dry socket and useful links to other wisdom tooth sites.

Of course you should always take professional advice about any pain your wisdom teeth are causing. Also do check carefully if you really need a wisdom tooth operation. All operations carry a degree of risk and it is important that you discuss all the pros and cons of any course of action before you make your decision.

Many people quite happily go through life with no problems from their wisdom teeth,some never come through, others do but are no problem. Some people like me have had to have all four out due to difficult placement of the teeth and repeated painful infections.

.I never used to give wisdom teeth any thought at all, I mean why would you. I had 2 wisdom teeth out uneventfully in my early 20's and the others stayed dormant... until recently and that was a different story!! Now one thing that is very important is that everyones wisdom teeth extraction operation experiences are different and valid.

I intended here to pull together some information and useful resources to help you if you are suffering with or just curious about your wisdom teeth.

If you have a wisdom tooth infection

First aid for your wisdom tooth

If you get a wisdom tooth infection then best course of action is to see a dentist or doctor as soon as possible.

Wisdom tooth infections may be characterised by some or many of these symptoms:

pain in the area of the tooth

bleeding of the gum area

swelling, soreness and redness in the gum area swelling

unpleasant taste

mouth odour

pain in the jaw and even pain and swelling down the neck

you may get an abscess when infected pus collects in the gum and may need to have it drained by the dentist

you may have difficulty opening your jaw

swelling of the face

fever and feel generally unwell.

Wisdom tooth infections are not to be messed around with so do go see your dentist. A few first aid measures may help you feel more comfortable before you can get there.

Try rinsing your mouth gently with warm salt water, hold it around the area of the wisdom tooth so its more of a salt bath for your tooth.

Take over the counter painkillers to help with pain.

Try to keep your teeth and mouth clean as possible, brushing and rinsing with salt water after each meal.

Then get to the dentist or if you can't do that your doctor. You may need antibiotics to clear the infection.

If the tooth is coming through normally and you only have a few infections or a one off it may just be sorted with antibiotics and your dentist will advise you.

If you have repeated infections and /or the tooth is not coming through properley you may need to consider extraction.

Be Wise About Your Wisdom Teeth


What Are The Reasons We Have Wisdom teeth Out! - What are the most common reasons for wisdom tooth extraction operations?

What are the primary reasons we need to have our wisdom teeth extracted? Of course I may not have covered all the options here.

Feel free to add any comment in the comments section at the end of this article.

What is the primary reason you are having a wisdom tooth extraction?

See results

The Age We Have Our Wisdom Teeth Out - What age were you when you had a wisdom tooth extraction?

As most wisdom teeth are supposed to come through in early adulthood just wondering for those of us who had them out when they caused us problems.

Feel free to add any additional comments in the guestbook at the end of this page.

How old were you when you had your wisdom teeth out?

See results

Why are they called "wisdom teeth"?

A definition of why we call them "wisdom teeth"

Just a little history of wisdom teeth(now often referred to affectionately as wizzies)

Take a look at this entry from the Online Etymology dictionary;

Wisdom teeth so called from 1848 (earlier teeth of wisdom, 1668), a loan-translation of L. dentes sapientiae, itself a loan-transl. of Gk. sophronisteres (used by Hippocrates, from sophron "prudent, self-controlled"), so called because they usually appear ages 17-25, when a person reaches adulthood.

Some Have Better Teeth Than Others!

Some of us have better teeth than others!
Some of us have better teeth than others! | Source

Wisdom Tooth Extraction

There are a few ways that the medical profession can make it easier on us to have the wisdom tooth operation. If you have had the operation which way did you choose or have recommended to you ?

When You Had Your Wisdom Teeth Out Did You Have..?

See results

If you have had the wisdom tooth operation and would be willing to share your experiences here with anything that may help others I would love to hear from you.

Which one of the methods above did you have and if you had different ones which did you prefer and why?

Did you feel anything in particular helped you in recovery?

I do read all comments prior to publishing.

Alos please note the general guestbook for any other comments is towards the end of this page . Thankyou :)

What are the reasons for wisdom tooth removal?

Why extract a wisdom tooth?

Please note it is very important that you discuss with your dentist any problems you have with your wisdom teeth and get regular check ups.

Many people will have no problems with their wisdom teeth and there is debate over if those teeth should be removed before they potentially cause any problems or not. My dental surgeon was certainly of the opinion that if they were not causing problems we should leave them alone. I had two wisdom teeth out in my 20's and then I had no problems for years until my late 30's when the other two started to give trouble as they came through. My husband on the other hand has 2 erupted with no problems, the others have stayed dormant and he has had no operations.

Your dentist will be the best person to advise you on any issues and the most relevant course of action for you and your circumstances. Here are just a few of the common causes of why wisdom teeth may be removed, but you do need to have an individual and expert opinion to know if that is the correct course of action for you.

If people have had work done to straighten teeth a newly growing wisdom tooth can move the positions of the teeth compromising the work that has been done so sometimes for orthodontic reasons they may be removed.

If the wisdom tooth erupts partially through the gum there may be overcrowding of the jawline and not enough room for the tooth to grow out properley.

Wisdom teeth can be very difficult to clean properly. If food and bacteria can gather around the tooth then infection, pain and/or decay can follow possibly to the wisdom tooth or other neighbouring tooth.

When a wisdom tooth is partially erupted food and bacteria can collect under the gum again causing infection, pain and swelling. Sometimes infections like this are only occasional but may be recurrent and can become more troublesome, frequent and severe, sometimes swelling speading down the face and neck. This is what I had and it was necessary for me to go on antibiotics each time until I had my operation.

Pressure of the wisdom tooth on other teeth and erosion of other neighbouring teeth.

Things to do before you have your wisdom tooth operation

How to prepare for your wisdom tooth surgery

Ensure your employer knows and advise them of the time off recommended by your consultant surgeon.

If you can arrange for someone to be with you for at least 24 hours, preferably longer up to a few days after the wisdom tooth extraction, that would be wise.

Stock up on great DVD's, books, magazines anything you can do while resting up for a few days.

Go buy all the "soft" foods you like to keep you going for a little while.

Make sure you have plenty of salt in the house, you will need it for warm salt mouth rinses.

Buy a couple of new toothbrushes. As I had trouble opening my jaw initially I found the soft small headed ones better but it is a personal choice.

Do all the necessary household chores you will not feel like doing soon after an operation-so if the beds need changing, the bins need taking out, the washing needs doing, best to get it all sorted before you have your operation.

If you have dogs, horses or other pets that will need walking or attention do have someone available to help you out with their care for a few days.

If you have children and can organise for someone to take care of them or be around in the home as well as you to keep an eye on them that may be a good idea as you dont know how you will feel after the wisdom tooth operation.

Make a list of any and all questions you may have about the post operative care of your wisdom tooth extraction site and general wellbeing. You should be given a sheet of post operative care instructions but just in case you need to ask anything.

On the day of your wisdom tooth operation take a means of payment with you as you may have to pay for presciptions to take away with you.

Get Help With Your Animals After Surgery

Ask someone to help you caring for your animals for a few days after wisdom tooth surgery.
Ask someone to help you caring for your animals for a few days after wisdom tooth surgery. | Source

Ten Tips:What To Do After A Wisdom Tooth Extraction Operation.

After a wisdom tooth extraction-your post operative care.

You must discuss your particular needs and individual guidance on what is right for you to do in your situation with your dentist or oral surgeon who does the wisdom tooth operation.

You may be given different instruction if you have certain medical conditions or are taking medications. It may also depend upon whether you have a local anaesthetic, sedation or general anaesthetic.

You should be given a sheet of information before you leave the hospital detailing what you should do. However some guidelines:

1.Probably best if you arrange to have someone with you for at least 24 hours after the wisdom tooth operation. You may not know how you react to any pain medications they give you.

If you had a general anaesthetic or sedation you must have someone to drive to to and from the hospital and to stay with you.

2.For the first 24 hours even if it was easy - REST!

3.Start warm salt mouth gentle rinses after 24 hours(not before as I was told it could disturb the blood clot and you don't want to do that!)

4.You may be given a mouth wash to use as well. Take your oral surgeons advice on that.Dont just buy any one as some may irritate the extraction site.

5.If you are prescribed antibiotics take them regularly and finish the course.

May be a good idea to take a liquid vitamin supplement alongside them as well.

6.For the first 24-48 hours you may use ice on your face if you have swelling(check with your oral surgeon) after that moist heat on your face will be soothing and help to relieve some pain. Either ice or heat should be used 20 mins on and 20 mins off.

NEVER use ICE directly on your skin put it in a towel or buy a proper ice pack and read the instructions carefully.

7. If the dental surgeon say you can brush your teeth normally use a soft small headed toothbrush so even if you cant open your mouth too wide at first you can get the brush in. Be very careful not to disturb the blood clot.

8.If you get swelling you may find it useful to use Arnica Gel or cream(I find gel easier) externally where the swelling and /or bruising occurs.

9. My oral surgeon who did the wisdom tooth extraction, told me to keep my head elevated for the first night so propped up on 3 pillows to help reduce the amount of swelling(check with your oral surgeon for individual advice)

10. Hygiene is very important. keep all mugs and glasses you use very clean, change your pillow cases regularly.

Painkillers For Wisdom Teeth?

Discuss Wisdom Teeth Pain Relief With Your Doctor.

I have had a few queries about what painkillers people can take after a wisdom tooth operation. As I am not medically qualified you do need to discuss this with your doctor, dentist or surgeon.

The painkillers you may take will depend on any other meds you are taking, any allergies and any other conditions you may have as well as how complex or straightforward the operation may be, and your own reaction - so it is more individual.

When you go for your initial consultation do ask what the choices of painkillers are and do alert them to any known allergies and any other medication you need to take for any other conditions.

You may also be given antibiotics to take after the extraction, so again do alert them at the consultation to any allergies or reactions to have to any antibiotics.

Flowers For You If You Are Having Wisdom Tooth Surgery


What To Eat After A Wisdom Tooth Operation...

Foods from my experience or I read are OK to eat after having your wisdom teeth out.

If you have had a wisdom tooth operation to remove one or more of your wisdom teeth and especially if you have swelling and jaw stiffness eating can be a tricky business. You will likely be told you can eat whenever you like after the operation.

Just take it easy the first few days, pace your eating and little and more often may be better for you than trying to eat a lot in one go.We are all different, just listen to your body, when you feel hungry eat, dont feel you have to stick to mealtimes. You may feel only like eating smaller portions at a time anyway. Below are some suggestions of food that are easy to eat.

Please note: Do not eat anything hot or spicy as this may disturb the blood clot and you do not want to do that. Let all foods cool down before you eat. Probably best to stick to cooler foods the first few days. Ask your surgeon or dentist advice if you are not sure.

Also do not drink through a straw. This may disturb the blood clot and you do not want to do that. I found it best to eat with a small teaspoon at first.

If you have diabetes or any food intolerance/allergies/special diet you will need to be more careful about what you eat at this time, check with your healthcare professional about what is Ok for you if you are unsure.

Ready foods like Complan and Build up come in different flavours eg strawberry, chocolate..( If you take these get lots of fruit as they can make you my experience)

Applesauce(with no lumps)

Smoothies, any you like but avoid those with "bits" in them that may get into the socket.

Soup with no lumps(cooled)

If you have a juicer, juice vegetables and fruits so you get your vitamins in liquid form.


Milkshakes (any you like as long as no lumps!)

Mashed potato. you can add more milk to make it as soft as you like. Also for variation try it with butter, natual yoghurt, or a sauce. I found this one of the best foods.

Rice milk


Very soft pasta. Preferably the smaller varieties.

Tinned pears in juice

Strawberries thinly sliced.

Mashed bananas.

Scrambled eggs, in very small chunks.

Do remember to clean your teeth the best you can and rinse very gently with salt and water after eating.

Follow your surgeons recommendations on rinsing.

I was told not to rinse for the first 24 hours.

Then to rinse GENTLY with warm salt and water (so as not to disturb the blood clot)after each meal.

After Wisdom Tooth Extraction... What Not To Eat...

What I was advised not to eat after having my wisdom tooth pulled out.

You may be told to eat whatever is comfortable and it is personal choice but in my experience and research I would suggest not eating...

Anything too hot and spicy. You should not eat hot food or spicy food as this may disturb the blood clot and you do not want to do that as there will be risk of dry socket. Do not drink with a straw.

Anything with seeds. You will not want to get anything stuck in the socket and seeds are a real culprit for that!

Anything requiring much chewing. You may find chewing difficult anyway and best to try foods that are easy on you.

Do remember to clean your teeth the best you can and rinse very gently with salt and water after eating.

Follow your surgeons recommendations on when to start rinsing.

I was told not to rinse for the first 24 hours. Then to rinse gently with warm salt and water (so as not to disturb the blood clot)after each meal.

Dry Socket - I have mentioned dry socket here and thought it needed more explanation.

Useful and important information about dry socket


Wise Words

So if we are supposed to be wise when we get our wisdom teeth....

"A man begins cutting his wisdom teeth the first time he bites off more than he can chew"

Herb Caen

Wisdom does not necessarily come with age.Sometimes age just shows up all by itself"

Tom Wilson

"Wise men put their trust in ideas and not in circumstances."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk"

Doug Larson

"We are made wise not by the recollection of our past , but by the responsibility for our future"

George Bernard Shaw

"The difference between a smart person and a wise one is that a smart person knows what to say, but a wise person knows whether or not to say it."


"You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions."

Naguib Mahfouz


I am just a person who has had experience of wisdom tooth issues and operations and not a medical expert.This lens contains personal opinions that are not intended as medical advice. The contents are not intended to diagnose, treat or give a medical opinion.

The information here is no substitute for medical diagnosis and guidance from you r dentist and oral surgeon. Consult a physician and or you r dentist/oral surgeon in all matters relating to dental health, particularly concerning any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention. Never disregard medical advice, or delay or change treatment because of something you have read here. For assistance with dental pain, or any other medical condition, always consult a qualified healthcare professional. You health is your responsibility.

Love to hear from you about your experiences with wisdom teeth. If you found this page useful, or if it helped you in some way. I do read all comments.

If you found it useful please consider bookmarking it on social sites.

Thank you.

© 2007 RaintreeAnnie

What Are Your Experinces Of Wisdom Teeth? - For all wisdom teeth owners or those who just lost theirs

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    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 

      6 years ago from Scotland

      I had toothache really bad for a few days, made an appointmet, and there and then the dentist decided it was coming out, several injections later, and 2 other dentists later, it eventually came out! today I feel and look as though I have spent several rounds in a boxing ring :) Thanks I was wondering what to husband is away to makie me some apple sauce and custard! yum!

    • RaintreeAnnie profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from UK

      @Christene-S: Thank you so much for the Angel Blessing. I appreciate that :)

      Hope you are Ok now from your Wizzie Op.

    • Christene-S profile image


      8 years ago

      You do not want me to share my wisdom tooth story. Shudder.

      Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

    • RaintreeAnnie profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from UK

      Thank you so much for all you kind comments. I do appreciate them :) I have just found out that I will need to have another one of my wisdom teeth out sometime in the next few months.

    • AppalachianCoun profile image


      9 years ago

      Wow, this is a great lens. So detailed. Thanks for your hard work.

    • religions7 profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens - you've been blessed by a squidoo angel :)

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      9 years ago from Royalton

      My daughter just had all 4 out at once. Thank you for the food suggestions. My dau. likes potato soup. I add veggies and put it through the blender. She also found that rice could be swallowed whole when mixed with soup (after 4 days).

    • RaintreeAnnie profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from UK

      Hi kalpana, I am so glad that you found this useful and I am wishing you all the best for your wisdom tooth extraction next week.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I will be undergoing wisdom tooth extraction operation in the next week. This article is really useful for me. Thanks a lot.

    • RaintreeAnnie profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from UK

      Thankyou for your kind comments, i am glad it helped.

      I think I may have to have my other lower one out soon as well as it has been playing me up. I see the dentist in Jan so we'll see.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great information! I'm planning to have my wisdom teeth removed soon. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      10 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      This is a lot of valuable information and very well layed out. Great job.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I truly had no idea that there was so much to know about wisdom teeth. This is an awesome collection of information. I found my way here while trying to find more information about another dental malady. I have been documenting my discoveries on a b log while looking for a bruxism cure. Maybe you can take a look if you have time.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Ah, I found this entertaining and oh-so-useful. Thank you, very much.

    • monarch13 profile image


      10 years ago

      Thanks for joining the Healthy, Wealthy and "Wisdom :)" Group! (5 Stars!)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      when i was about to do my extraction,i was so sacred as i was about to extract all four of them.thank god the swelling lasted only a week and my best friend was there for thank you noel.

    • GlennaJones profile image

      Glenna Jones 

      10 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      Something none of us want to think about but a fact of life. Thanks for the info.

    • RaintreeAnnie profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from UK

      Hi Sarah,

      Yes I forgot to say they told me to take a week off from work, then review if I still didnt feel well after that. I had a local. For me it was just that it took a long time to get the wisdom tooth out(awkward position/deep rooted) that caused all the swelling etc.

      The other 2 (upper) wisdom teeth I had out in my 20's were very straightforward and I just felt groggy for a day or two with very little pain or swelling and no bruising. From talking to people I think everyones experiences are a little different, some wisdom teeth extractions are a lot easier than others.

      Do follow the advice they gave you on the blurb and do contact them if you are still worried. I am sure they won't mind and will give you some peace of mind if they give you a check over.

      ..and also thank you so much for visiting here, I appreciate you and others taking the time to leave your comments and I hope the site has been some help to you.

      Take care, my thoughts are with you for a speedy recovery

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      thanks jasmine ann for your thoughts.

      I will try arnica. It was local anasthetic. I had read the blurb they gave me at the Eastman Hospital, London but for some reason it hadn't sunk it that it would be so bad I'd have to take days off work. My face was truly enormous.

      I am still worried about the baggy jaw line that has developed since the op and am hoping that this will subside. Crumbs! not what i need.

      All the best to you.


    • RaintreeAnnie profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from UK

      HI Sarah,sorry to hear you had a traumatic experience. I can empathise as mine was as well. Was it under a local or general?

      It took them a long time to get my wisdom tooth out. They were very nice and did what they could but it was very firmly rooted and eventually they had to section it. However they alerted me that I would have a lot of swelling/bruising. They also gave me antibiotics and a tel no to ring in the first instance if I was worried about anything. Did they say anything to you?

      Mine was really quite swollen for 2 weeks(eating/talking difficult) then slowly went down. I used arnica gel very gently on my face-just laid it on really which helped.

      I cant give you medical advice and I feel due to the fever and swelling you should consult your doctor/dentist/surgeon-to discuss it with them. BTW all my swelling and bruising went completely though it did take time.

      Sending good healing thoughts your way for a speedy recovery. Try to talk to your healthcare provider soon.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      rather traumatised by my wisdom tooth extraction! I wasn't expecting it to be so bad. I am 46 and it swelled up dreadfully and went green and purple etc... and i felt ill and feverish.

      However - that was about 3 weeks ago now, and I am horrified to find that the swelling still hasn't quite gone down around my face. There is a definite extra 'flap' around my jaw line. Horrors! What should i do? is this normal? will it go?

      Any help gratefully received. Thanks.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Very detailed, and informative. Something I can really sink my teeth into, lol! Another brilliant lens *****


    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      10 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Lots of information, fortunately I have mine all out now. The first 2 were taken out 15 years ago under general anasthaetic. Even now the right side of my mouth and tongue are still numb! The others came out a lot easier and at the dentists.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great information! I've got a new wisdom tooth and it's fine except sometimes it bites the inside of my mouth when I eat! :( Don't know if that's a good enough reason to have it out - maybe I just need to be more careful!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      While I had my own teeth out a year ago, I'm preparing to take care of my girlfriend getting hers out tomorrow. Thanks for the info and advice, it'll definitely come in handy.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      very informative lens! Wish this had been around when I had my wisdom teeth out! Nice lens! Recommend for anyone about to have wisdom teeth extracted! :)

    • raswook profile image

      Jeff Wendland 

      10 years ago from Kalamazoo, MI


      I want you to know that I am featuring your lens in my .

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      thanks for the helpful and useful information

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Nice pictures and useful information. thanks! 5 stars.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      this really hurts when its going to come out. Thanks for the helpful infos!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      2 more that needs to be pulled out:)

      great info. 5*!

    • carrieokier profile image


      10 years ago

      Ouchie- I'm petrified of the dentist! Nice job on your lens, and 5 stars*****

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Very useful information is published in your lens. I would like to pass this information to my friend who had a recent operation for his Wisdom tooth.

      Anyhow, thanks for your lens.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Hi, Great site - 5 of 5. For those needing to save on dental work Click here. Or if you want to make money selling this benefits package follow this link.

      I agree Squidoo is very addicting - I have about 25 sites and still growing!

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      10 years ago from Royalton

      The Woodchucks came over to check out your teeth. We have been very interested in teeth as well becaure our teeth keep growing. We are looking for the wisdom in teeth and think we may have found it in not having wisdom teeth of our own.

      Great lens!

    • RaintreeAnnie profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from UK

      Just to say "Thank you" for your great comments and sharing. It means a lot to me:)

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Very informative and interesting lens, Jasmine. And how I can relate, having a dry socket the first time and then waiting too long to have the last one taken out, which took 45 minutes to remove...

    • beadgirl lm profile image

      beadgirl lm 

      11 years ago

      Excellent lens! Brought back memories of dry socket when I had mine pulled. The health of ourteeth is so important.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      THANKS so much your lens did help me, thanks Im your latest star!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Glad to have you as a member of the Health and Wellbeing Group - drop by the Group HQ sometime and see what is there for you

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great information. Thank you.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 

      11 years ago from USA

      Good information on a topic much overlooked. 5 stars!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Superb Lens Jasmine. Looks great

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Another great job! Your work and effort shows.


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