What to Wear to Wisdom Teeth Surgery

Are you wondering what to wear to wisdom teeth surgery? If so, then this article was written with you in mind.

Wisdom teeth removal is probably the most dreaded and misunderstood type of oral surgery. Not because the outpatient procedure has a long list of associated risks or a bad reputation of complications, but the stigma that it is extremely painful and invasive. This stigma, however, comes from people who don’t truly understand the procedure. The truth, however, is wisdom teeth removal surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures in general dentistry. Data shows as much as 85% of people have their wisdom teeth removed during their lifetime.

So, how do you prepare for a wisdom tooth surgery? Do you have to do anything prior to and after the procedure? What to wear to wisdom teeth surgery? If you’re scheduled to have your wisdom tooth removed, then this entry is for you. Here is a comprehensive survival guide for wisdom tooth extraction.

Understanding the nature of wisdom tooth

First, what is a wisdom tooth? What makes it different from the other teeth? And why do some people need to have it removed?

Your mouth goes through many changes throughout your lifetime. And the eruption of your wisdom tooth is considered a big dental milestone. Often referred to as the third molars, wisdom teeth are located at the very back of your mouth. It is the last pair of teeth to come out, which is usually between the ages of 17 to 21. Some had them as early as 15, while some had them late in their 40s. Thus, they are called wisdom teeth as they come through the stage where one is considered “wiser”.

Why your wisdom teeth may hurt?

When they erupt correctly, healthy wisdom teeth can help you chew better. It is normal to feel some discomfort in your mouth as they erupt since the wisdom teeth are causing the other teeth to move. However, if you feel pain then that is a totally different scenario. And you may need to see your dentist immediately.

Many people, however, do not have enough room in their mouths to accommodate the new set of teeth to grow correctly due to overcrowding. In other cases, the wisdom tooth can grow at an incorrect angle or direction. This can cause nagging pain as the tooth grows against the other teeth. This is called impacted wisdom tooth.

If not addressed, this can cause a serious infection that leads to cysts and permanently damages the roots of nearby teeth or even destroy the jawbone that holds supports the teeth.

A wisdom tooth that is in the wrong angle or position can trap food debris, which can lead to cavity-causing bacteria growing, which leads to tooth decay. It can also make flossing between the molars extremely difficult and affect your oral health.

Moreover, a wisdom tooth that has partially come through can give a hiding place for bacteria to enter the gums, increasing your risk of infection. This can lead to pain and swelling, as well as jaw stiffness.

A wisdom tooth that is growing in the wrong angle and direction can cause overcrowding and damage the neighboring teeth.

What is wisdom teeth removal surgery?

Wisdom tooth removal surgery is an outpatient procedure that can be performed by a dentist or an oral surgeon. The procedure itself actually a form of maxillofacial surgery, as it is a procedure for treating complex dental problems related to the mouth, teeth, jaw, and face.

A dental professional may recommend the removal surgery if they determine from their oral exam and x-ray that the wisdom tooth is truly impacted and is causing or may cause dental problems in the future.

What happens during wisdom teeth surgery?

The procedure involves cutting into the gum and removing the impacted tooth out, either as a whole or in smaller pieces. You will be under anesthesia, which means will never feel anything throughout the procedure. Depending on your dental service provider, your anesthesia can be in a form of IV sedation (intravenous), local anesthesia, or general anesthesia. Your dentist may also use laughing gas (nitrous oxide) to sedate you.

Dentists choose the type of sedation based on their patient’s comfort level and the complexity or severity of the case.

Are there any potential risks in wisdom teeth surgery?

As said earlier, the procedure is quite common and considered generally safe. But as with any other invasive procedures, wisdom teeth surgery may have some complications too, such as:

• Dry socket (a painful condition in which the blood clot in the extraction site gets dislodge, causing the nerves and bone to become exposed, risking infection)

• Sinus problems

• Irritated nerves

• Damage to jawbone

• Damage to nearby teeth

• Infections

It is usually easier to remove the wisdom tooth before the age of 20 than at a later age. This is because older people have fully formed tooth roots; they become longer and curved, making them more difficult to remove. This means the older you get, the more challenging the procedure and the longer the healing process can be.

While age is not usually precluded someone from getting his/her wisdom tooth removed, it can cause some complications.

Why would anyone need wisdom tooth removal surgery?

During your routine dental checkups, your dentist will monitor not just the state of your existing teeth and your oral health; he/she will also take note of the development of your wisdom tooth. This is why they will request a dental x-ray.

Should they find any anomaly in any of your wisdom teeth, they will discuss removing the impacted tooth to avoid potential complications and dental problems such as:

• Pain

• Infection

• Tooth decay

• Damage to surrounding teeth

• Tooth loss

• Periodontal disease (gum disease)

• Bone loss

If you are experiencing any symptoms, or if your dentist recognizes the potential of any complications with regards to the eruption of your wisdom teeth, then he/she may suggest having your wisdom tooth/teeth be surgically removed. Wisdom teeth are situated all the way back, making them extremely difficult to clean. Thus, it can be extra challenging to maintain good oral hygiene with them in place.

Moreover, depending on the complexity of your case, your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon to perform the surgery. Your surgeon will schedule an initial consultation before the actual surgery, review your dental records, take an extra x-ray of your teeth to confirm the scope of the dental work, and help you prepare for the procedure.

Dentists and orthodontists may also recommend the removal of wisdom teeth as part of the preparation process for traditional metal braces, Invisalign treatment, or other dental care treatments. This is to make enough room for the other teeth to move in the right positions and directions for straightening of teeth and bite alignment.

What happens during wisdom tooth removal?

As with other surgeries, the process of wisdom tooth removal starts with the use of sedation. Your dentist or oral surgeon may choose the type of anesthetics for the procedure, whether it’s IV sedation, general anesthesia, or local anesthesia.

If you are getting IV sedation, it is best to have a responsible adult accompany you during the entire procedure and drive you afterward. He/she must accompany you for 24 hours while you are still under the effects of the anesthetics.

General anesthesia is usually reserved for complex and severe cases, such as treating facial trauma, corrective jaw surgery, etc. If you are advised to have general anesthesia, your dentist will give you a different set of instructions leading up to the surgery.

While you are sedated, your dentist will pull the wisdom tooth/teeth out using the best procedure for the situation.

There are also two types of the impacted tooth; full or partial bony impacted. The former is when the tooth has completely fused to the jaw, while the latter refers to the tooth that has partially fused to the jaw. If the tooth has yet to fully erupt, then it is necessary to surgically incise to gum. Sometimes, the surrounding bone may be removed as well. To extract the whole impacted tooth, the dentist may cut the tooth into 2 to 3 pieces.

Whichever procedure you need, it will be completely painless. You may feel the pressure from your dentist’s hands and the tooth loosening, you may even hear sounds or your dentist talk to his/her assistant during the process. That’s the whole idea of using anesthetics

Following the procedure, you will still be under the effects of the anesthetics for a few hours. You will also have gauze in your mouth to collect blood that may trickle out. Recovery time depends on the individual, but most dentists will recommend rest and avoiding strenuous activities for at least a week. This is to reduce the risk of losing the blood clot from the gum socket, which is important for healing.

How to prepare for wisdom teeth surgery?

So how do you prepare for the procedure? What are the things you should and should not do? More importantly, what should you bring or wear for the big day?

Read your pre-op instructions

Listen to your dentist’s instructions and read the pre-op manual. Everything you need to know prior, during, and after the procedure will be there, from the anesthesia, estimated duration of the procedure, etc.

Generally, dentists recommend no food or drinks at least six hours prior to surgery. This is to reduce the side effects of anesthesia and discomfort during extraction.

Get your medications in advance

The efficiency of your recovery time afterward depends on how well you prepared before the operation. Included in your dentist’s instructions are the post-op care, and this includes the pain medication you will need when the effects of the anesthetics wear off. So make sure you head to the pharmacy before the surgery and pick up all the necessary medications you will need.

Get there early

Arrive at your dentist’s clinic at least 20 minutes early. This will give you enough time to fill out any last-minute paperwork and ask your dentist or oral surgeon about any lingering questions you might have.

Get a good night’s sleep

It is important that you are well-rested prior to your procedure, so make sure you get a good night’s sleep. Also, avoid sleeping positions that put too much stress on your head and mouth. Sleeping on your back is considered the ideal position, as it puts your head, neck, and spine in a neutral position sleeping.

Ask a friend or family member to accompany you

You will be unable to drive after the procedure due to the effects of the anesthesia. This is why you need to have a friend or a family member to accompany you and bring you home.

Get your food and drinks ready

Head to the grocery and grab all the foods and drinks you will need during your recovery time. As with most dental treatments, you will have to stay away from solid foods after your operation.

When shopping for food, stick to healthier options such as milk, protein drinks, tea, yogurt, etc. Opt for soft foods like mashed potatoes, blended soups, scrambled eggs, applesauce, etc.

Avoid spicy and acidic food and drinks that require a straw, these things can irritate the gums and dislodge the blood clot, which can lead to dry socket. Also, get an ice pack


Your dentist will recommend you to fast (for 6 – 8 hours) prior to the procedure. Food and beverage in the stomach can increase the risk of complications while under the effects of anesthetics. If you are going to take medications (say pain reliever), use small sips of water.

Don’t smoke

Avoid smoking at least 12 hours before the surgery and 24 hours after the operation.

What to wear to wisdom teeth surgery?

There aren’t actually particular dress codes for wisdom teeth surgery, but you will want to wear comfortable clothing.

Dress comfortably; wear loose fitting clothing. If possible, avoid wearing a shirt with long sleeves, as the nurse will need to give you an IV, be able to take your vital signs, or monitor your blood pressure. Wear something that feels soft, breathable, loose, and doesn’t compromise your movement.

Moreover, your clothes should be easy to take on and off if necessary and something you can comfortably sleep in since you won’t need to change into anything after the procedure. Sweat pants or pajamas are usually great, your dentist will not judge you if you opt to wear pajamas.

What to expect after wisdom teeth surgery?

Immediately after the procedure, you will feel the mild effects of the anesthetics, such as dizziness, nausea, and shivering. You will be brought to the waiting room or recovery room where you will be monitored. Once your dental specialist determined that are able to breathe normally and your vital signs are stable, you will be cleared to go home. This usually takes an hour or more.

Expect to feel pain. You will feel pain once the anesthetics wear off. While this is temporary and can be managed with pain medications (an over-the-counter or prescription medicine), there will be some kind of pain after the procedure. Ice packs can also help relieve some pain.

Expect some bleeding. This usually occurs 24 hours after the surgery. So replace your gauze as needed. Make sure you don’t spit the blood out too hard, as this could cause the blood clot to dislodge from the gum socket and cause a dry socket and prolong the healing process.

Expect bruising and swelling. You will have some swelling on your face for 2 to 3 days. Again, the good old ice packs can help relieve pain and swelling.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is wisdom tooth removal necessary?

A. If it is coming out at the wrong angle or wrong position, causing pain, and may damage the teeth nearby, then yes.

Q. Will I need mine removed?

A. Only your dentist can identify that. If it’s impacted, coming out at the wrong angle, if you have cavity and gum disease problems, or if your mouth is too small that there isn’t enough space for the wisdom teeth to come out right, then yes, they must be removed.

Q. How long is the recovery time for wisdom tooth removal?

A. Recovery time is usually 5 to 7 days. Some people can go back to work after 2 to 3 days, while others may need up to 2 weeks to fully recover from the procedure. Obviously, this varies from person to person, the complexity of the case, and whether there are complications or impactions.

The Takeaway

Wisdom teeth removal is a common dental procedure and complications are very few and rare. For fast and successful recovery, it is important to follow your dentist’s advice and do proper post-op care, especially during the first week following the surgery.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and tell your dentists about any concerns or anxiety you have before the procedure. Your dentist can help ease your mind and take care of yourself better.

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