Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery: What To Know About The Recovery Process

Your back molars, which are most commonly referred to as wisdom teeth, are the final adult teeth that will emerge in the mouth. They come in on both sides of the mouth on the top and bottom, generally between 17 and 21 years of age. A lot of individuals do not have adequate room in their jaws to accommodate these teeth without the other teeth shifting, which can lead to many issues.

If this occurs to you, your dental professional will probably recommend that you undergo surgery to remove the wisdom teeth. The removal of wisdom teeth is a very common procedure, and the recovery process can take up to a week, depending on your individual situation. In some cases, recovery can take longer if you have impacted wisdom teeth, which means that the teeth are below the gums and can’t be seen, yet they are still causing issues for you.

Surgery Day

The extraction of wisdom teeth is considered an outpatient surgery, and this means that you will arrive and leave the oral surgery office/center on the exact same day. If you receive local anesthesia or sedation for the surgery, which is likely, then you will likely wake up in a dental chair. However, if you receive general anesthesia, it will take longer to wake up and you will be transferred to a recovery room. You may not remember moving from the dental chair to the recovery room. Make sure to talk to your dentist about the various types of sedation and which one would be best for you.

As you wake up from the surgical procedure, you will gradually regain feeling in your mouth. It is normal to experience some swelling, discomfort, and pain. You may have some blood inside the mouth during the first day. An ice pack can be used immediately. The dentist will provide you with instructions on how and when to utilize medications, such as over-the-counter or prescription painkillers.

Once you wake up and are comfortable, you will be sent home. Though it isn’t mandatory, it is recommended that you have someone there to drive your home. Most dentists will insist on this, particularly if you receive general anesthesia since you will be unable to drive for some time.

Following the surgery, you will be able to eat soft foods, but you should avoid caffeine, alcohol, and smoking. In addition, don’t drink using a straw, as this can lead to complications.

Long-Term Recovery

Most individuals will experience a full recovery from wisdom teeth surgery within three or four days. If the teeth came in a strange angle or were impacted, you may need a full week for the recovery process, though.

The wound from the surgery will not heal completely for months, so it is possible for an infection to develop several weeks following the surgery. Make sure to take good care of yourself after the surgery and pay close attention for any indications of trouble.

After the surgical procedure, you will be able to resume your normal, day-to-day activities, but you should steer clear of any activities that may dislodge the blood clot or stitches over the wound. This includes, but is in no way limited to, the following:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking from a straw
  • Spitting
  • Strenuous exercise

Some swelling, bleeding, discomfort, and pain is completely normal after having your wisdom teeth removed. If the bleeding or pain is excessive and unbearable, get in touch with your dental surgeon or dentist immediately.

By the third or fourth day following the surgery, the symptoms should be significantly improved. Within a week, the bleeding and pain should have subsided. If you notice any complications, they may be an indication of an infection or even possibly nerve damage. If you notice any of the following symptoms, get help as soon as possible:

  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Swelling that persistently gets worse
  • Fever
  • Numbness
  • Medication that doesn’t dull the pain
  • Pus or blood coming from the nose
  • Bleeding that won’t stop when gauze and pressure is applied

At-Home Care

It is incredibly important that you take adequate care of your mouth at home following the wisdom tooth removal surgery to ensure that you avoid infections, complications, and the like. Your oral surgeon or dentist will provide you with specific instructions on how to protect and clean your mouth following the surgical procedure. This may be the only time you are instructed by your dentist not to brush, floss, and/or rinse for an entire day!

Some of the common cleaning instructions may include the following:

  • Gently dabbing the wound with gauze, which will absorb any excess blood.
  • Rinsing with salt water, which will keep the wound clean. Avoid spitting out the water while rinsing, though; instead, simply tip your mouth over the sink and allow the water to just fall out of your mouth.

As mentioned, daily activities should be able to be resumed after 24 to 48 hours following the surgery, but you will need to take care for a week to avoid dislodging the stitches and blood clot. Similar to scabs, the blood over the wisdom tooth surgical site (hole) actually protects and heals the wound. In the event that the blood clot suffers a disruption, you will suffer from more pain and be at a heightened risk of infection. If this happens, it is known as dry socket.

Pain Management

The primary ways that you can reduce swelling and manage pain are to take pain medication and use ice. Your dentist can provide you with specific instructions on how frequently you can use an ice pack. When using an ice pack, don’t apply it directly to your face, since this could result in an ice burn under the right circumstances. Your dental professional will likely recommend whether you should opt for over-the-counter or prescription pain medications as well.

Your dentist may prescribe you antibiotics to take during your recovery. The antibiotics will work to prevent the risk of any infections during the time that your mouth is most vulnerable to bacteria and germs. Make sure to take the complete course of antibiotics as your dentist instructs.

Foods to Eat and Avoid

Eating well and staying hydrated are both essential to recovery properly, though you may notice that you don’t have the best appetite immediately following the surgery. Talk to your dentist about specific instructions regarding what types of foods you can eat for the days immediately following the surgical procedure. Ideally, you should focus on foods that won’t take much effort/chewing to eat, as well as foods that will not disrupt your stitches or blood clot. You want to choose very soft food to start out with, such as the following:

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Applesauce
  • Cottage cheese
  • Soup (no slurping, as this can lead to complications!)
  • Pudding
  • Smoothies

While there are certain foods that are ideal, there are also foods that you should avoid. Foods that you should try to avoid include the following:

  • Seeds or nuts that may get stuck in the surgical site
  • Extremely hot foods that may burn the surgical site
  • Foods that require slurping from a spoon or drinking from a straw, which may ruin the stitches or dislodge the blood clot

As you feel that you are ready, you can start eating heartier foods.


Wisdom teeth extraction is by far one of the more common procedures that is used to prevent or fix problems with the final set of molars that you get as an adult. The day following the surgery you should have no problems consuming soft foods and returning to your typical, day-to-day activities.

Generally, the recovery time is three days, though it can take a week or more, depending on the exact circumstances. It is very important that you follow any at-home care instructions that you receive from your dentist to prevent infection and aid in the healing process.

If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at Fountain of Youth Dental.

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