We all have them, and some of us still keep them in a small box as reminders of the time when we became “wise”. As much as we want to believe wisdom teeth are a sign of maturity, awareness and growing, we can’t neglect the scientific fact that they’re nothing more than an evolutionary step in humans.

It all lies in the jaw; back in prehistoric times, people had larger and stronger jaws and a higher rate of losing teeth. This consequently led to developing a third set of molars which in those conditions allowed them enough space to grow. However, as evolution took its place, the jaw significantly decreased in size, which meant less space for molars to develop into functional teeth.

So nowadays, when wisdom teeth start showing up (which is somewhere between the age 17 and 25), most people start experiencing problems ranging from severe pain, swelling and diseases to complications such as physical rearrangement of other teeth. But, some people don’t see any symptoms and simply ignore their wisdom teeth to the point when the pain becomes intolerable.

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From here, arises a very reasonable debate among dentists: when is the right time for removing wisdom teeth? Since the procedure is inevitable, the time when it’s performed seems to be rather discussable. Some of them think that since you’re eventually going to be forced to get them out, scheduling an appointment for removing wisdom teeth soon after your dentist tells you they’ve started to show up, is the less painful option and should be the recommended one. However, since this is still a surgical procedure it still poses some risks, which is why the other half of oral surgeons claim that there should be a very good clinical reason for removing wisdom teeth.

So after you go on your regular dentist check and your dentist tells you your wisdom teeth are ready to be removed, the question that instantly pops up in your head is: how painful will it be? Well, this largely depends on how the tooth is positioned in the mouth, if it’s in a good shape or is it inflamed, and normally, your tolerance for pain. Some people go through the experience in just a few days and feel good enough to capture this experience and share it on social media, like famous singer Ariana Grande did. However, if the situation with the tooth is complicated, then you’ll need more time to recover, which may not be so pleasant to endure.

A few words of wisdom for surviving the surgery and post-surgery period

The surgeon will ask you if you want the full anaesthesia, or the laughing gas, so think of this as a choice to how aware you want to be during the procedure. If you can’t endure the sight of blood and feeling your mouth full of it, go with the full anaesthesia. If you’re braver and have no problem with the sounds and sights associated with everything, then go with the laughing gas. You won’t feel anything in your mouth, but you’ll see and hear everything.

After the surgery is over, the doctor will give you medications to prevent eventual inflammation, so make sure you take them on time. Also, he’ll give you pain killers, as the pain will be present and rather strong in the beginning.

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And now, the good stuff: tons of ice cream! There are two big surgical procedures that actually ask you to eat ice cream because it’s helpful at that moment: tonsillectomy and wisdom teeth removal. When the surgery is over, the place from which the tooth is extracted will be all swollen and burning, which prevents it from healing. Cold applications such as ice cream can reduce that inflammatory process and help the healing. Plus, the cold feels good and it doesn’t hurt that much.

Finally, you may want to avoid brushing your teeth and flossing the first day, as well as eating hard-to-chew foods. In fact, stick mainly to soups and liquid foods like mashed potatoes. And on day two and three you can start cleaning your mouth, but do it very gently and avoid the place where the tooth was extracted from. Normally everything would last up to 7 days the most, although a lot of people are able to function just after 4 days. It really depends on how well you’ll take care of your mouth and overall well-being at that time.