To prepare for wisdom teeth removal, it is advisable to follow pre-surgery steps, such as eating and drinking instructions. A person may also want to consider planning for recovery and aftercare.

A person’s wisdom teeth will be removed by a dentist or an oral surgeon, depending on various factors. It is important for individuals to carefully follow their doctor’s pre-procedure instructions when getting ready for the removal, or extraction.

A person may also want to consider arranging transportation and support, and asking questions about the procedure.

Read on to learn more about the steps a person can take to prepare for wisdom teeth removal.

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Once a person has scheduled the procedure, they should contact their school or employer to book time off.

Several factors affect how much time it takes for someone to return to work or school, and a doctor can advise on how many days an individual should plan for. Some important factors are:

  • the number of teeth removed
  • the type of anesthesia used
  • someone’s recovery and needs

Generally, people will take 1–3 days off from work. People who have physically demanding jobs may consider resuming work after 3-4 days.

Additionally, the time off a person takes from sports or strenuous activity may be longer. If an individual plays a sport or is part of a team, they should let their organization or coach know prior to the procedure.

Patients usually go home the same day as their wisdom teeth removal. A person will likely be unable to drive following the procedure, so they should arrange transportation home.

The type of sedation used during the extraction will determine how long a person will need to wait before driving. A doctor can advise on the appropriate amount of time.

An individual must be recovered from their procedure before driving. They should be able to drive comfortably and safely and not be affected by medications, sedatives, or pain.

It may also be necessary to arrange for someone to help during recovery.

For people who receive general anesthesia, it is essential to be accompanied by someone who can help for the first 24 hours after surgery. General anesthesia may cause confusion or dizziness, so individuals should not operate machinery, drink alcohol, or make critical decisions for at least 24 hours following the procedure.

Before the procedure, it is helpful to purchase appropriate post-procedure food.

A person’s dentist or surgeon will likely provide a list of acceptable foods that a person can consume during recovery.

The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) recommends foods that do not require chewing, including:

  • yogurt
  • broths and soups
  • apple sauce
  • ice cream
  • pureed foods
  • smoothies

Be sure to avoid drinking from a straw, as this may disturb healing and can contribute to the development of dry socket.

Further into recovery, someone may begin eating soft foods like:

  • oatmeal
  • mashed potatoes
  • scrambled eggs
  • very soft pasta

Additionally, a person should pick up any prescribed or recommended over-the-counter (OTC) medications. They can also prepare an ice pack for pain management.

Wisdom teeth extraction involves the removal of one or more wisdom teeth. It may involve impacted wisdom teeth, which have not erupted from the gum, and visible wisdom teeth.

During the procedure, a healthcare professional may administer local anesthesia, general anesthesia, or sedation. While most people return to work after a few days, full recovery usually takes a few weeks.

Before scheduling the procedure, a person will have a consultation with the operating dentist or surgeon. This is the time to ask questions and share concerns. It is helpful to bring prepared questions and a pen and paper to take notes.

People are typically given instructions about what to do before and after the surgery. They may also want to ask specific questions about what to do in the days leading up to the surgery. Concerns or questions about sedation or anesthesia should also be addressed.

It is important to be honest when responding to any health and drug use inquiries when asked.

On the day of the procedure, a person should follow any specific instructions the doctor provides.

Generally, people should:

  • follow their doctor’s eating and drinking instructions, which can depend on anesthesia and sedation
  • brush their teeth before the appointment
  • wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothes
  • avoid alcohol or tobacco use for at least 8 hours before the procedure
  • confirm transportation

The following are answers to frequently asked questions regarding wisdom teeth removal.

Is the surgery painful?

Local anesthesia, general anesthesia, or sedation makes people comfortable and ensures they do not feel pain during the procedure. Prescribed pain relievers or OTC medications can help with pain management during recovery.

What can a person eat and drink beforehand?

What someone can eat and drink beforehand depends on the type of anesthesia or sedation being used. It is important to closely follow any instructions provided by the operating dentist or surgeon.

Individuals can ask questions about eating and drinking during their consultation appointment.

Is anesthesia safe?

General anesthesia is generally considered safe due to advances in medicine, science, and technology. However, like any medication, it has risks and side effects.

A person should discuss any concerns they may have with a doctor.

How can a person speed up recovery?

Several steps may help speed up recovery:

  • Follow the doctor’s instructions for cleaning your mouth.
  • Eat appropriate foods. Avoid alcohol and very hot beverages.
  • Avoid smoking, if applicable.
  • Gradually build up to activities.
  • Keep a daily routine.
  • Have friends and family nearby to provide support.

Learn more about wisdom teeth surgery recovery.

Individuals can take multiple steps to prepare for wisdom teeth extraction. Most people should plan to take 1–3 days off from work or school, but some may need more for physical or strenuous activities. People can also prepare by arranging transportation and asking family and friends for support during recovery.

Before the procedure, it is a good idea to pick up post-operation foods and prescribed medications or painkillers. Liquid and soft foods are needed during early recovery.

Individuals should learn about their procedure during their consultation. At this time, bring up all concerns or questions with the doctor.