The speed of recovery after wisdom teeth removal will vary from person to person. For the following few days after surgery, you can expect some degree of discomfort and swelling. The level of this will depend to an extent on the difficulty of the extraction.
Your dentist/oral surgeon (a specialist) will give you advice on how to ease any pain and help recovery of the area after wisdom tooth removal.
Tips For Fast Recovery
The advice you get from your oral surgeon/dentist, to help with healing, may include some of the following:
Take whatever pain relief your dentist recommends during wisdom teeth removal recovery and stick to the recommended dose. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen are often the ideal choice although your dentist may prescribe something stronger. Take the first dose before the numbness has worn off after the extraction. Do not take aspirin for pain relief after wisdom tooth removal, as it may make your wound bleed.
In the First 24 Hours After Extraction:
- You can expect some oozing from the socket for about the first 24 hours during wisdom teeth removal recovery. Even a minor amount of bleeding may appear worse than it is, as it will be mixed with a larger amount of saliva. If there is any further bleeding place some gauze (which the dentist should provide you with) on the socket and again bite on it for 20 minutes.
- Avoid hot drinks, and take small sips when drinking fluids. Do not use a straw.
- Diet advice – Eat soft food and eat in small mouthfuls. A liquid diet is not necessary unless advised by your dentist.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
- Do not rinse your mouth and avoid spitting.
- Take it easy. In particular avoid strenuous exercise.
- It may help to prop your head up with an extra pillow when lying down.
- Swelling may occur after wisdom tooth extraction. Ice packs, placed on the face for 15 minutes at a time, with a 15 minute break between times, can reduce any swelling during recovery.
From 24 Hours After Surgery:
- Continue with soft foods while necessary.
- Use a salt-water (one-half teaspoon of salt in a cup of luke-warm water) mouthwash or proprietary oral rinse a few times a day to help keep the area clean, thus preventing wound infection.
- ‘Chlorhexidine’ gel applied to the extraction site can also aid healing time by killing bacteria at the site.
- If stitches are placed, they may be the type that will dissolve away over a week or two. Alternatively, you may need to return to have the stitches removed. Your dentist will advise you on this.
Pain and minor symptoms that last for a few days and even up to a week is normal, so long these are getting better each day. If you experience a worsening pain after about two days, this may indicate a ‘dry socket’ (a painful condition where the socket does not heal properly after extraction).
Healing After Wisdom Teeth Removal
The initial healing phase, which closes up the socket, usually takes 2-3 weeks. The surrounding bone can take 3- 6 months to completely settle into place. However, pain should be lessening by the second day.
As the gum tightens up faster than the bone heals, you may feel the sharp edge of the socket with your tongue. Sometimes little pieces of bone may make their way out from the wound. This is a normal part of the healing process.
Once wisdom teeth removal recovery is complete and the area has healed and settled, the original problems caused by the impacted tooth will have gone. Your mouth will feel more comfortable and less crowded where the original problem was.
Always ask your own dentist for answers to specific questions you may have about the healing process.