David M. Dugan D.D.S., M.D., P.C.

Oral, Maxillofacial & Implant Surgery

Wisdom Teeth FAQ's

What are the indications to get wisdom teeth removed?

Not everybody needs their wisdom teeth removed. There are situations where enough room exists in someones jaw to for the wisdom teeth to erupt and the patient is effectively able to clean them. However, there are also situations where there is not enough room and the wisdom teeth remain impacted.

How urgent is it to get my wisdom teeth removed?

If it has been determined that you need your third molars removed, it is best to get them removed sooner than later. It is not a good idea to wait until you have symptoms. Waiting to get them removed can put you at risk for pain and decay on the wisdom teeth as well as the neighboring teeth.

What kind of anesthesia is available for my surgery? 

There are four levels of anesthesia available. Level One would be the removal of wisdom teeth under local anesthesia. Level Two is oral sedation; oral medication is taken before surgery and combined with Nitrous Oxide. Level Three would be Intravenous Sedation (also known as conscious sedation). Nitrous Oxide is combined with intravenous medications that are administered by Dr. Dugan. Level Four is general anesthesia. Dr. Dugan has privileges at both Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital and A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital.

Will I be able to bring a family member in with me during my surgery?

Family or friends are not allowed in the operatory during surgery. They will be brought in to see you when you are in recovery.

What will I be like after surgery?

You will need to go home and rest the day of surgery. You will be given instructions on how to stop bleeding and pain medication will be used to control pain. The next 4-5 days are when the swelling, pain, and tightness of the jaw are most prominent. Vigorous activity should be avoided. Eating will be difficult so a soft diet is essential. Drink plenty of fluids. Keep in mind that the surgical sites will go through several stages of healing. It is normal for other teeth to feel like they are shifting. This will all settle down after a few weeks.

By day 7, there should be only minor symptoms remaining. The tightness of the jaw is usually the last symptom to go away. At the end of two weeks, you should be back to normal, eating a regular diet and exercising again. Be aware that each person reacts differently after surgery. Some people heal faster than others. The above information is an average healing process. Should you have any questions regarding this process, be sure to call the office for some assistance. 

Will I need stitches?

Yes, stitches are usually placed after a wisdom tooth is removed. A dissolvable stitch is used, therefore it would disappear with 2-14 days after surgery.

When and what can I eat after surgery?

You can eat and drink an hour after surgery. The first day should consist mostly of liquids like milkshakes, smoothies or soup. The following 4-5 days will consist of soft foods such as yogurt, pudding, ice cream, applesauce, soup, eggs, pasta and mashed potatoes. Please avoid foods that are crunchy, chewy, spicy, hot or grainy, i.e. oatmeal and rice. Soup, tea and coffee are fine as long as they are warm, not hot. You can modify your diet as to how you feel.

What is a dry socket and how do I know if I have one?

A dry socket occurs when the blood clot becomes dislodged from the extraction site prematurely and the jawbone is exposed. A dry socket is very painful. If it were to occur, it would be symptomatic a week after surgery. It is not common to get a dry socket. An extraction site can most commonly be irritated by lodged food. This issue is often confused for having a dry socket. If you follow the post-operative instructions, you shouldn't have any issues. However, if your pain continues beyond the average healing process, contact the office to get evaluated.

What do I do if I have an emergency after hours? 

For any emergencies or questions about surgery after hours, please call (607) 432-8808 and leave a message. Dr. Dugan checks these messages routinely and will call you back.

When can I play sports?

Sports with physical contact can be continued one week after surgery.

Do I have to come back for a post-operative appointment?

Yes, normally patients would be seen one week after surgery for a post-operative appointment. The sites will be evaluated and irrigated to remove any food debris. There is no extra cost for this appointment.

How much will my surgery cost?

During the consultation, Dr. Dugan will evaluate the positioning of your wisdom teeth and an estimate will be given to you. The fee will be due in full the day of surgery. Cash, checks, money orders, CareCredit and credit cards (VISA, MasterCard and Discover) will be accepted.

What will my insurance reimburse me for surgery?

You will be given an estimate prior to your surgery with which you can send to your dental insurance. Since your contract is between you and your insurance company, they will notify you as to your reimbursement. Wisdom teeth extractions are normally submitted to a dental insurance, not a medical insurance. However, if you have a dental rider on your medical insurance, you may have that option.


If you have questions that we have not addressed on this page, feel free to contact us.