Knowing what to expect following wisdom teeth removal can help ensure a smoother, faster recovery. The skilled surgeons at Innovative Implant & Oral Surgery are happy to answer all of your questions about the recovery process following wisdom teeth extraction. Depending on your individual case, it may take anywhere from one to two weeks to fully recover, though most patients are back to their normal routine within 5-6 days.
After wisdom teeth removal
After wisdom teeth removal it’s critical to follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions, which are designed to minimize discomfort and risk of complications. Many factors will determine your total healing time including your age at the time of extraction, your overall health, severity of the wisdom teeth impaction the surgical technique used, and your commitment to follow home care instruction after the procedure.
You can expect some degree of discomfort, jaw stiffness, swelling and minor bleeding after getting your wisdom teeth pulled. Should you notice severe pain, excessive bleeding or other unusual symptoms, contact Innovative Implant & Oral Surgery as soon as possible.
Wisdom teeth removal recovery timeline
Days 1-2: Wisdom tooth extraction is an outpatient procedure and performed using IV sedation or general anesthesia. Once you are fully awake, you’ll be ready to go home with a family member, friend or designated driver. On the day of the oral surgery, it’s common to experience some mild to moderate nausea and throbbing in the mouth and jaw. This can be easily managed by taking Tylenol, Ibuprofen or a prescription pain medication as directed. There will be some minor bleeding around the extraction sites, and some patients will develop light bruising along the outside of the mouth and neck. Inflammation around the cheeks and mouth are the body’s natural reaction to surgery. Expect moderate swelling on the day following surgery. Place ice packs on either side of your cheeks to reduce swelling severity and duration.
Plan to spend your first two days at home, either resting on the sofa or in bed. It’s important to limit physical activity and allow your body to heal. Take care not to irritate the surgical area. Do not rinse vigorously, spit, or use a drinking straw. Try and increase your fluid intake and stick to soft, liquid foods that are high in protein.
Days 3-4: While swelling will peak during this time, the throbbing pain will give way to general soreness. Don’t be alarmed if it’s difficult to open your mouth completely. This will soon subside. Oral hygiene is important to keep the extraction sites clean. Follow your surgeon’s directions and rinse gently with a mouthwash or warm salt water. When brushing your teeth, take care not to disturb the surgical sites, which will be starting to produce collagen – a precursor to new gum tissue. Mild to moderate swelling and bruising may still be present. Avoid strenuous exercise, lifting, or bending and keep a steady intake of nourishing foods such as yogurt, soup, apple sauce, cottage cheese and protein shakes.
Days 5-7: By now, most of the swelling, discoloration and soreness should be minimal. If you were given antibiotics to prevent infection, be sure to finish the entire 7-day course. Most patients are feeling ready to resume normal activities – and exercise– by this time, and after a full week of recovery are ready to transition back to a heartier diet. The sutures will dissolve with time, and you may notice a small piece come out when you rinse. If you develop a fever, or notice continued bleeding, oozing or signs of pus, call your oral surgeon right away.
Tips to speed up post wisdom teeth healing
Every patient is unique, and no two people recover the same after having wisdom teeth pulled. Some will be back to school or work in a few days, while others may stay swollen and sore for weeks. You can help speed up the healing process by following these steps:
- Allow at least 3 days of solid rest
- Apply ice packs over the cheeks on the first day (20-minute intervals)
- Keep your head elevated with an extra pillow
- Stay hydrated; don’t allow your mouth to dry out
- Avoid alcohol, smoking and tobacco products
- Avoid playing horn instruments for 1 week
- Take medications as directed
- Do warm salt water rinses several times daily
- Stick to a liquid and soft-food diet for 3-5 days
- Avoid any activity that can dislodge blood clots
- Steer clear of hot foods, nuts and seeds
- Gently massage and stretch jaw muscles after day 3
Post wisdom teeth removal
Wisdom tooth removal, like any type of surgery, comes with some risk of complications, including post-op infection, dry socket (when the newly formed blood clot is dislodged from the extraction site), sinus communication and nerve damage. Most of these unexpected results are rare and can be avoided by following our detailed post-op instructions, which will be thoroughly explained during your office visit.
If you have additional questions about wisdom teeth removal recovery, please call our Bucks County offices today.
Additional Resources on Wisdom Teeth Removal Recovery:
- Colgate, What Is The Recovery Time After Wisdom Teeth Removal? https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/wisdom-teeth/what-is-the-recovery-time-after-wisdom-teeth-removal-0913
- Healthline, How Long Does It Take to Recover from Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery? https://www.healthline.com/health/wisdom-teeth-recovery
- National Health Service, Wisdom Tooth Removal Recovery https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/wisdom-tooth-removal/recovery/