Wisdom tooth removal is one of the most common types of oral surgery. Most patients begin to recover within three or four days, but full recovery can take up to a week or two.
Although every patient is different, here is a typical timeline for wisdom tooth extraction recovery:
- First 24 hours: Blood clots will form. These are needed to begin healing.
- Two to three days: Swelling of cheeks and mouth should improve.
- Seven days: Your dentist can remove stitches.
- Seven to 10 days: Soreness and stiffness of the jaw and mouth should be gone.
- Two weeks: Facial bruising and all pain should be gone.
Tips for a Quick Recovery
You can increase your chances of a quick and smooth recovery by heeding the following tips.
Control bleeding. Some bleeding after wisdom tooth removal is to be expected. To control it, bite down firmly on some gauze, but do not move your teeth around on it; keep it stationary. Change the gauze periodically until bleeding eases.
Treat swelling. Swelling around the extraction site is common after oral surgery and usually lasts a few days. To control swelling, use an ice pack on the side of your face for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. You can begin doing this even before swelling starts.
Take it easy. You may feel slightly fatigued or achy after wisdom tooth removal. Listen to your body. Take naps as needed and avoid strenuous activity and exercise for the first few days so you do not dislodge the blood clot or tear your stitches. Take a few days off to let the extraction site begin healing and for bleeding to stop.
Eat soft foods. For the first 24 to 48 hours, we recommend eating only soft foods and drinking beverages. Soft foods include yogurt, applesauce, cottage cheese, thin soup, mashed potatoes, pudding, and smoothies. After 48 hours, you can begin eating solid foods with a little more texture that are not overly hard or sharp.
When eating, avoid:
- Scorching hot food and beverages that can burn the extraction site
- Nuts and seeds that could get stuck in the extraction site
- Foods with sharp corners or edges that could scratch the wound
- Drinking from a straw; the suction can dislodge your blood clot and stitches
Do not smoke. Smoking after oral surgery can create huge problems. Cigarettes can slow down healing time, and the act of inhaling can dislodge needed blood clots at the extraction site. Patients are urged to quit smoking.
Maintain good oral hygiene. After surgery to remove wisdom teeth, avoid brushing and flossing around the extraction site for a few days. Rinse your mouth five to six times a day with warm salt water to ease inflammation and minimize the risk of infection.
Stay ahead of pain. Oral surgery can be painful for a few days. Your surgeon will explain when and how to take medications, either prescription painkillers or over-the-counter medicine.
What to Expect Long Term?
Although most patients recover quickly and within a week from wisdom tooth extraction, be aware that it will take months for the wound site to be completely healed. This healing should not affect your everyday activities except for the cautions mentioned above immediately after the surgery. However, it is essential to pay attention to any signs of trouble and see your oral surgeon if needed.
What Are Complications from Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
There is a chance that the surgery site could become infected or slight nerve damage has occurred. When a blood clot is disrupted, you are at an increased risk of infection, called a dry socket. You can get a dry socket in one or all the extraction holes.
Seek immediate help if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Medication does not dull the pain
- Swelling worsens over time
- Trouble swallowing or breathing
- Blood or pus around wound site or as nasal dripping
- Bleeding that does not stop when using gauze and pressure
South Jersey Oral Surgeons at Lanzi Burke Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons Specialize in Relieving Wisdom Teeth Pain and Problems
Tooth and gum problems can cause debilitating pain and other difficulties. There is no need to suffer through painful wisdom teeth or other issues. The South Jersey oral surgeons at Lanzi Burke Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons are experienced in wisdom teeth extraction and other oral surgeries. We can help. Call us today at 856-582-4222 or contact us online to make an appointment or schedule a consultation. With offices in Washington Township, Haddonfield, and Woolwich Township, New Jersey, we are dedicated to helping patients throughout South Jersey.