Wisdom tooth removal recovery process: what to expect

Wisdom teeth removal is one of the most common dental surgeries, and it can take up to two weeks to recover from the procedure.  It is important to carefully follow your oral surgeon’s instructions for care following wisdom teeth removal.  Looking after your mouth and your treatment sites properly will help you heal as quickly as possible. Some people will have a few stitches in their mouth as part of the procedure. Most people will experience swelling, bruising and discomfort, which will take some time to dissipate. 

How long does it take to recover from wisdom teeth removal?

Recovering from wisdom teeth removal is gradual, but you should expect to see some improvement every day.  The recovery period following wisdom teeth recovery can take several days, and you may experience pain, swelling, sensitivity or even headaches for a week or more following your procedure. In the first 24 hours, blood clots will form at the extraction sites.  In two to three days, mouth and facial swelling should begin to improve.  In about a week, your oral care provider may remove stitches, if needed.  In a week to 10 days, jaw stiffness and soreness should be gone.  In two weeks, facial bruising should be gone.

What can I do to speed up healing?

Follow your oral care provider’s tips and advice, rest, rinse your mouth with a saline rinse as instructed and be careful not to dislodge blood clots while you are healing or cause damage to your mouth with sharp or crunchy foods. Your dentist or oral surgeon will provide specific care tips to speed your recovery time.

What can I do immediately after wisdom teeth surgery?

Plan to take it easy follow your wisdom tooth removal.  You may need someone to drive you home following the procedure, depending on the medication your oral health care provider uses during surgery. Plan to take the rest of the day off to rest and recover from the surgery, anesthetic and medications.  Make good use of ice packs, eat soft foods and avoid strenuous activity.

What can I eat following wisdom teeth removal?

Soft foods are easier to eat when you mouth is numb and also will not cause damage to the surgery sites in your mouth. Applesauce, cottage cheese, yogurt, pudding, mashed potatoes, soup, Jell-O, soft noodles, ice cream and other soft foods with help fill you up without causing pain or damage. Eat soft foods for the first day or more, slowly moving to foods with more texture as your mouth begins to heal.

What are some other tips for home care?

In addition to following the rinsing and brushing instructions from your oral health care provider, you may consider using an antibacterial mouthwash to keep your mouth germ free and fresh while you recover.  Due to swelling, discomfort and the surgery sites themselves, you aren’t able to brush your teeth as normal at first, so mouthwash will help keep your mouth, breath, teeth and gums in good shape. Drink plenty of water, use prescription or over the counter pain medicines to stay comfortable, rest as needed and try to be patient. 

Wisdom tooth concerns develop slowly over time.  By the time you feel discomfort, it’s probably well past time for your wisdom teeth to be removed.  Regular checkups with your dentist will keep you informed about your overall dental health and the state or your wisdom teeth.  And if you do need your wisdom teeth removed, your dentist can help refer you to an experienced oral surgeon that specializes in the procedure.  Your oral surgeon can help to ensure that your procedure is as pain-free as possible, and will outline a plan of care to keep you comfortable as you recover from wisdom tooth removal.  

Many oral surgeons even use the DentalVibe tool to make sure that you don’t feel the dental injection that will numb your mouth prior to the procedure. Your dentist’s office and oral surgeon’s office will work with you to make sure that you feel fully informed about the procedure, that you have a pain-free procedure, and that you recover as quickly and completely as possible.

To learn more about painless dental procedures, visit dentalvibe.com to find a DentalVibe dentist near you.

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