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The Age of Wisdom…Teeth: Your Survival Guide to Wisdom Teeth Removal

Having your wisdom teeth pulled out is no piece of cake. Trust me, I had all four of mine removed at one sitting in January; although by the second day of recovery, I was able to eat soft cake, or at least pancakes. I survived the week of recovery on liquid and soft foods, and soft activities—here is my Survival Guide, some Do’s and Don’ts for when you get your wisdom teeth pulled out.

Do Stick to Soft Foods
Scrambled eggs, pancakes, soft fruits and juices, room-temperature soup, pudding, Jello, yogurt, cottage cheese, and lots of ice cream—that’s pretty much what my diet consisted of for the first few days after I had my wisdom teeth removed. It’s not as rigid if you only have one or two out at a time, but having had all four out, I had to be careful to chew with my front teeth, if at all. Be sure to avoid small foods like rice that could get stuck back there.

Don’t have anything crunchy, hot, or through a straw
This means no pretzels, no popcorn, no chips, no cereal, no hot soup or hot beverages, and, well, the rest speaks for itself. You do not want food to get stuck while you’re recovering from the wisdom teeth extraction, because this could lead to complications like Dry Socket that will prevent the extraction sites from healing properly. Also, don’t drink alcohol.

Do take your prescribed medicine and follow the doctor’s orders

“Don’t wait for it to start hurting,” advises Joshua Fidler, a sophomore Communications and History double-major who had one wisdom tooth removed more recently. When I had my wisdom teeth extracted, I experienced what’s called “sympathetic pains”—it’s basically when your other teeth hurt temporarily. You should also rinse your mouth as required (whether after meals or five times a day), for however many days required, in order to keep your mouth clean and avoid complications. I had to keep ice on my jaw to prevent swelling for 48 hours after my surgery; it was tedious, but it helped numb the pain.

Don’t do anything strenuous
This wasn’t a big deal for me, but for all of you more active people, avoid exercising and any exhausting activities. This week (or few days) of recovery is a good time to watch movies, catch up on TV shows, read a book or two, sleep, play video games, vlog (I’m serious), etc. My friend who had her wisdom teeth out one day later than me came over to watch a movie that week, so it wasn’t a completely antisocial time. And with Netflix, On Demand, DVR, and the Internet, the possibilities are endless.

They call adolescence and young-adulthood The Age of Wisdom because this is when wisdom teeth usually start to grow in; more often than not, young adults have to have their wisdom teeth removed because they are (sometimes painfully) impacted in some way, but everyone is different. I wasn’t in pain while my wisdom teeth were growing in, but my sister was. One week after my surgery to have them removed, I was off antibiotics and prescription painkillers, and was able to drive to a friend’s house for a lasagna dinner party. And I had some lasagna, if that wasn’t already implied.

Here are post-operation instructions from the oral surgeon I went to, and this is a helpful resource to check out if you’re getting your wisdom teeth removed soon. Good luck!

Rachel Chlebowski is an alumna of The College of New Jersey, where she sang with I-Tunes A Cappella, created props for TCNJ Musical Theater, spread literary cheer through Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, and wrote for Her Campus TCNJ. She enjoys reading novels and watching Netflix when she isn't editing manuscripts and media.
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