Advice on Wisdom Teeth Removal and Playing Instruments

Updated on September 15, 2008
M.C. asks from Des Moines, IA
33 answers

My oldest daughter needs to have her wisdom teeth removed. We have heard from many in the medical field that she will be "out of activities" for three days and then should be back to normal. However, she has talked to some of her friends, and said that it was much longer for many of them. She is auditioning in August for a place in the university band/orchestra is very concerned about how long it will take to recover so she can play her flute.

Her surgery is scheduled for this week, but now we are re-thinking this and wondering if we should wait until Christmas.

Does anyone have any advice about this?

Thanks in advance.

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So What Happened?

Thanks to everyone for their responses. I hadn't realized how in-depth this procedure could be. We met with the oral surgeon and asked if we could postpone her surgery. She is now scheduled to have it over Christmas vacation. Our daughter feels much more comfortable about this and so do I. She is leaving for college next week and will be auditioning at the end of next week.

Thanks again for all the advice...you're wonderful!

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J.Y.

answers from Madison on

I think it is different for different people so to be safe (if she is not having pain in her mouth) WAIT if it's not too hard to reschedule. University band.. how exciting!

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B.H.

answers from Minneapolis on

I had mine removed when I was 18. I was up and about after a couple of days. My friends had hers done around the same time and she had problems with dry sockets for weeks. I guess if it were me, I would maybe put it off til Christmas. Every person is different so you just never know.

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K.H.

answers from Minneapolis on

One more piece of advice - have an ice pack ready for her as soon as she's out of the office. It will really make a difference!

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L.K.

answers from Sioux Falls on

Being a band geek myself... I would honestly wait. She has enough time during christmas break to heal enough to play when she gets back to school for spring semester. Those auditions are crucial if she is first chair quality and get last because of her teeth she won't be happy for the whole year. Not to mention it can affect next years audition. If the doc says you can wait do it!! Good luck!!

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L.G.

answers from Minneapolis on

I had my three wisdom teeth removed and felt great the next day. I also used to play the flute, and since the embouchure is formed at the lips with a little tightening of the cheeks (from what I remember), it shouldn't really hurt that much. As long as they've started the healing process, she should be fine. Her tongue will be toward the front of her mouth too, so it shouldn't be aggravated when she tongues the notes. Hope this helps! Good luck on auditions! What an exciting time!

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K.B.

answers from Milwaukee on

Hey Linda,

I had mine out the beginning of my freshman year at college. It was during thanksgiving break... I remember not being able to eat all that yummy food!

The first 3 days I just laid around and took drugs, I was in a lot of pain (even moving was painful). I had all 4 of mine surgically removed. I also played the flute at the time and it took about 2 weeks before I could play or even start to practice again. As others said the checks and jaw are sore, bruised, swollen from the process and obviously not ideal for playing the flute during the time of recovery.

It depends on when she is auditioning, if it is at the end of August she should be fine. If the audition is at the beginning or the middle of August I would say wait if possible.

All in all if the docs say it is ok to wait then wait BUT if they say it is better to do it now rather then later I would do as the doc says. I got horrible headaches/migraines from my wisdom teeth as well as pain when eating so I had my out ASAP, I would not have wanted to wait 4 months to get that taken care of. If your daughter is not bothered by them and waiting till Christmas or a sooner break is ok with the docs then go ahead and change the appointment/surgery.

Best Wishes to you and your daughter!

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C.K.

answers from Madison on

It really depends on whether or not the teeth are impacted, how many are being removed, and complications that my result. I had four impacted wisdom teeth removed when I was about 22 and ended up with dry sockets. Recovery lasted about a week to two weeks. My friend had hers removed two weeks ago and came back to work a few days later but with very swollen and bruised cheeks.

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G.B.

answers from Tampa on

Hey Linda,

I just saw this and it triggered something I heard on TV last month. If they will save the teeth for you, put them in a baggie and toss them in the freezer. New research is proving that the same cells found in cord blood are in our baby and wisdom teeth and they can be harvested from the teeth in the future. It's just a small insurance policy for our children's health. Good luck with the procedure.

G.
www.Earthmomz.com
www.ConcernedMoms.com

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H.H.

answers from Kansas City on

I know this is a little late as well but wanted to let you know my brother's experience. He is a trumpet player and had oral surgery during high school. He did not know he wasn't supposed to play his trumpet and had a competition within a week. He went ahead and played for it and got dry sockets so bad and was very painful. His band teacher said if he would have known he wouldn't have let him go to the competition and would not have been playing for band for at least a week. It took him longer to recover than it normally would have because he didn't know he wasn't supposed to be playing his horn until it completely healed. So remember don't drink out of a straw and don't play an instrument until it is really healed up or it will delay the process longer.

I was told to have the oral surgery done as well when I was 14. Mine wasn't as severe as my brothers so my parents couldn't afford both of ours so did his first. I never did get mine done. I am 36 yrs old now and haven't had any problems with them. I have only had 1 cut through the gum and was coming in sideways and last year asked the dentist what he could do about it just because it was a bit annoying having it rub my cheek often so he just pulled it out and that was a lot cheaper than the surgery would have cost. I asked him about the others and he said as long as they aren't bothering me then we won't mess with them and may get lucky to have them pulled as they cut through like the last one. The other 3 haven't started cutting through the gums yet and I still have 2 other baby teeth in my mouth which always surprises the dentists but not a concern to pull them either. I always did cut teeth late. I didn't get the 12 yr molars until I was 18.

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C.J.

answers from Eugene on

I think you made a wise decision waiting until winter break to have her wisdom teeth removed, especially if they are impacted. My daughter had hers removed 3 years ago, a few weeks before school started, and she got dry sockets. She became extremely ill from the antibiotics, anesthetic, and pain meds. Not everyone has this bad luck, but any surgery carries a risk.

Anyway, watch her carefully the first few days. Use ice packs and make sure she gets plenty of rest. My daughter drank jamba juice, but she later found out not to use a straw as the sucking can contribute to dry sockets. So, have your daughter use a long handled spoon and just take a little at a time. The cold helps numb the pain a little.

Good luck!

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D.G.

answers from Modesto on

Hi Linda!
Like a couple other women who responded, I too am glad you've postoned your daughter's oral surgery. I'm a professional musician and experienced a minimum of a week of discomfort before I could resume singing after I got my own wisdom teeth pulled. What is not often spoken of is the healing process the jaw must go through after being held open for the duration of the surgery. Depending on the surgeon, clamps and such may leave the lips dry, cracked, and swollen, too. This can play havoc on a one's positioning so it's best if one is given enough time to heal completely before having to get right back into practice and performance.

I do hope you keep us all informed as to your daughter's recovery once the actual surgery is over. I'll be thinking of her and hoping for the quickest recovery possible!
All the luck in the world!
D.

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A.C.

answers from Minneapolis on

I had my wisdom teeth removed when I was 18. I had to have two pulled and 2 where cut out as they were still under the surface. I was fine after a couple of days but my face was swollen and bruised for about a week after. I think it really depends on the person. Some are fine and some run into some problems.
If I were you just to be safe I would see if I could reschedule it until after she auditions.

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A.F.

answers from Cedar Rapids on

From one flute player to another, I would wait on the teeth...unless the doctor has a really good reason for doing it right now. I had mine out after high school and I had a bad case. I had one tooth on a nerve and another on a sinus cavity...they never gave me a bit of trouble. She should be fine in a week or so, but if she gets dry sockets...or infection it could me a month before things are back to normal. The swelling could be a problem while playing, and she wont be able to eat as much, so she could have a stomach ache for a while. Years ago we wouldn't have done anything for a tooth unless it hurt. Good luck on her audition!!

A.

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D.M.

answers from Kansas City on

I know this is late, and that you have resolved it all. But I wanted to share, that I had mine out last summer. My advice is make sure that they put her under. Being awake when they have trouble is not good. I wish I had been put asleep!

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K.D.

answers from Boston on

I had a similar situation myself this summer: I needed surgery on my vocal cord, and wasn't allowed to play French horn (which is my instrument) for 2 weeks. I had a horn concerto scheduled, and I had to postpone that (or the surgery). Decided to postpone the playing gig instead of the surgery because every minute I waited, I was inflicting more damage on the healthier of my vocal cords!

Good luck to your daughter. I had wisdom teeth surgery years ago and it was very significant, but I was back to playing very well in a couple of weeks.

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J.M.

answers from Minneapolis on

I would wait!!! I am a band teacher and a flute player. Although your daughter may be feeling better quite quickly after the surgery, odds are her mouth will not be back to "normal" for quite some time. Playing an instrument requires a variety of muscles not used for eating and such. Give her mouth a significant amount of time for healing before trying an audition! If her teeth can wait, then wait! The audition can't.

Good luck to you and her on the audition. Hope all goes well!!!

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T.L.

answers from Des Moines on

Hi,
I am actually a mom myself and just had my 4 wisdom teeth removed last month (I should have had it done years ago! :-)
Anyway, I did it over a long weekend so my husband could help with our 2 young boys, so I had 3 days "off". On the 4th day I returned to "normal" activites of taking care of my boys (I stay at home full time), but my mouth was far from "normal". I didn't eat any real food until over a week after the surgery and it took 2 weeks until I could really open my mouth normally. It has been 3 weeks now and I still have some restriction of opening my mouth. The recovery has been smooth, just slow I guess. It has just taken more time than I thought it would. (Could be the age-factor too, I guess! 33 vs. 18) Anyway, one of the things that surprised me most was the inability to do things like put on chapstick and rub my lips together simply because I couldn't move my mouth yet in that way. I don't know how it might affect your daughter especially with the way she would have to form her mouth in order to play the flute. She might be much quicker in healing because she is young?
I didn't have any problems with dry sockets or anything like that which was good. I did come home with several prescriptions for anti-swelling, prescription pain meds, and anitibiotics, all of which I made a point to take faithfully in hopes to keep my recovery time as short as possible. I hope this helps some and hope that your daughter has a smooth surgery and quick recovery- good for you for getting it done now rather than later in her life! :-)

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D.B.

answers from Minneapolis on

I had my wisdom teeth removed my freshman year of college. My bottom wisdom teeth were impacted, so my recovery was a week of pain meds then at least another month of slight swelling. The top ones were not impacted and they felt fine within a couple of days.

FYI, just in case, impacted wisdom teeth require major oral surgery where they cut into the gums. Non-impacted are like any other teeth you have pulled.

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J.B.

answers from Seattle on

I know this is late but was reading some of the responses and I had my taken out last October. I am 28 and was 27 at the time. I had all 3 impacted. I didn't have a fourth which I thought was weird. anyways, make sure that they put her under. It was a much more pleasant experience. It was almost 2 weeks before I could really chew food again. So, I think waiting is a very good idea. christmas break would give her plenty of time to heal. Also, something that noone told me was the you will feel the indentions in your mouth for some time. I can still feel a slight indention on mine. For after for recovery mashed potatoes, jello, pudding, soup seemed to get stuck in the holes. Anyways, just thought i would share my experience. I felt alot better by the 5th day but still sore for about 2 weeks. Be sure she takes the pain meds for the first couple of days that really helps :).

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V.C.

answers from Wheeling on

Hi~
I was about 21-1/2 when I had mine out (and a wife/mother. Husband and all 4 kids have had theirs removed, also, at different stages of growth). The main thing I remember is that I got these 'pockets' BEHIND/BESIDE my (absent) teeth (in the side of my jaw) for a while, and they'd collect food and it STUNK horribly! Now they usually give you a large plastic plunger syringe with a curved plastic tip to use for it, but I had to use my own ingenuity! LOL I bought a small bulb syringe and squirted warm water into the pockets and flushed the particles out.

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J.H.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi I had mine taken out two years ago and I didn't have any problems at all. I had them taken out on a Friday and I was back to work on Tuesday with very little pain at all. I had all four of them removed. Good luck.

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R.V.

answers from Minneapolis on

I have had all 4 teeth removed over three sessions. The top two were removed early in right after HS graduation (too many years ago to mention) and the recovery was about 4 days, I was given gas and novacaine. One bottom one was removed in college, again with gas and novacaine and the recovery was about three days (less violent extrection). (It took longer to recover from the pain meds they gave me that I ended up being allergic too.) The last one was removed about 6 years ago. I was given an IV, some novacaine and a shot to take down the sweling. The procedure was done in the morning, I think I was home by noon. That night we went out for fish fry. No one could even tell that I had a tooth removed. It was fantastic. It was slightly uncomfortable but nothing like the previous times. I handled the discomfort with Ibuprofen. I had no pain or discomfort the next day.
Maybe it is more how it is done and the meds they give. The first two I had removed were set in sideways and had to be broken to get them out, my whole face was sore. I eally think the IV I got at the last extraction and the anti-inflamatory helped ALOT. I was still told a couple days recovery and to be careful to not suck on anything so as not to get dry sockets.
Good luck to your daughter. I hope it all goes smoothly.
R.

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S.A.

answers from Minneapolis on

My 18 year old son just had his wisdom teeth removed Thurs afternoon and he is fine! They were, according to our dentist, really impacted and very, very difficult to remove. My son was on the couch Thursday and Friday and then I gently encouraged him to get up to his room Saturday and we went on a few errands and Sunday, he was nearly 100%. Monday, he worked five hours at Valleyfair. He was tired, but good. I wouldn't wait.

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B.A.

answers from Seattle on

That was a good decision! I wish that my parents had waited to have mine out until after my first semester in college. I was a trumpet major and it was several weeks before I could play again and then a couple more before I was able to work my embouchure back up to where it had been.

Best wishes to your daughter as she begins college!
~B.

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B.A.

answers from Wausau on

A lot of her recovery time might depend on how she repsonds to the anesthetic. I had mine out on a friday and was back to work monday. my only issue was that the pain killers they gave me made me sick.
I know of another person who had a bit more of a reaction to the anesthetic and it took her closer to a week to recover. I wouldn't worry too much about it ... if she's had anesthetic before then that will be a good judge, if not ... you won't really know exactly how she'll be - could be two days, coudl be a week or more.

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K.E.

answers from Phoenix on

Can any of you recommend a good oral surgeon, who extracted your wisdom teeth?
My daughter will need hers out soon.

Thanks,
K.

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L.M.

answers from Green Bay on

I had two of my wisdom teeth cut out at 14. It was much longer than 3 days to recover, more like 10 days to two weeks.

You don't mention what instruments she plays...if it's a woodwind (that's what I played) then if the audition is within two weeks of the extraction I would reschedule.

It's likely not only to affect her playing, but the act of playing can interfere in the healing process and extend it or cause damage to the sockets.

On a side note - I hope she does well! :-) Ahhh...those were the days.

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K.G.

answers from Sioux City on

My 2 cents for what it is worth: wisdom teeth are very, very serious and nothting to mess with. I would postpone it. What can it hurt? In the scheme of seriousness just wait...I won't tell you my scary story but just believe how serious this can be.

Thanks!! :)

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A.M.

answers from Grand Forks on

I would wait. You never know how she'll react. I had mine out and could only open my mouth half way for a month. It was like my jaw locked. I was 18 and missed school for 2 weeks.

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L.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

I think it depemds if they need to cut the gums or not. I was in my early 20's when I had mine removed. I think it took me about a week to feel comfortable eating normal foods again. I think I took pain killers as needed for several weeks. I would think as long as she can eat hard foods she can play but may need painkillers.

I knew people who were eating cheesebergers the next day and running around outside the same day. These people had local anestetic maybe that makes a difference.

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K.L.

answers from St. Cloud on

If they can wait, WAIT! She might be okay, but there are too many unknowns as to what can happen after surgury. I was back to school right away, but i could not open my mouth for 2 weeks. The muscles are so stretched that they lock up once released after the surgury. If this audition means that much to her, wait till Christmas for the surgury. Get antibiotics right away to combat any potential infection that might happen. Everybody;s body responds differntly to invasive trauma like this surgury. Physically the rest of my body was fine except for my mouth. LOts of soup/broth after the surgury, that is all you will be able to eat for at least 3 days. You won;t be able to open your mouth more than that for a straw.

Good luck.

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C.L.

answers from Minneapolis on

This was a long time ago, but I had mine removed at about high school/college age. I swelled up quite a bit and was out of commission for about a week. Even if she feels better for the actual audition will a week of missing practice affect her audition? Are the wisdom teeth really bothering her? If having them removed soon isn't a medical requirement and she has another time when she can get it done I might be tempted to wait.

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J.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

The decision should be based on when is the audition. Is it in a couple of weeks after the surgery? Can you do it between the audition and when she starts school? Are they impacted? Then the surgery will be more difficult. As a dental professional I tell my patients that just like any other surgery there can be complications from bruising: where your cheeks can swell up like chipmunks, to temporary numbness: the nerve that goes to the lip, tongue, and chin runs directly below the lower wisdom teeth and can be bruised in the removal process (The numbness is not common but I have seen it happen), to an opening in the sinus cavity: the upper teeth are just below the sinus cavity and might even form part of the floor of the sinus, if that is the case removing the wisdom teeth will cause an opening from the oral cavity to the sinus cavity which will require antibiotics and stitches. Again this is not common but does happen and recovery will take longer. If you have any other questions you can email me at a [email protected]____.com.

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