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Dos and Don’ts After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Wisdom tooth extracted

Wisdom tooth extraction is a procedure that many individuals undergo at some point in their lives. However, post-surgery care is often overlooked despite being vital for a fast and painless recovery process. Understanding the dos and don’ts after your wisdom tooth removal is the key to a comfortable and complication-free healing process.

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last molars to emerge in the back corners of the mouth. In many cases, they cause issues due to impaction or lack of room to emerge normally and align properly within the mouth. Wisdom tooth removal is an invasive techniques to remove one or more of these teeth, often performed by an oral surgeon. It is usually done under local anaesthesia, sedation, or general anaesthesia.

The extraction process can vary from a simple extraction of fully erupted teeth to a more complicated surgical procedure requiring the removal of bone and gum tissue. Following the extraction, the patient is issued post-operative instructions to ensure a smooth and uncomplicated recovery.

Here, we’ll explore expert advice for the best practices in wisdom tooth extraction aftercare, focusing on the proper healing steps and what to avoid to prevent discomfort and complications.

Dos for Speedy Healing

Woman being performed of extraction

Recovery after wisdom teeth extraction is critical, and there are key actions you can take to support your body in healing effectively.

Rest and Relaxation

After your surgery, taking it easy for the first few hours is essential. Rest can direct your body’s energy towards the healing process. Avoid strenuous activities, including heavy lifting or exercise, for at least a few days post-surgery. Remember, this is not the time to catch up on your to-do list or hit the gym because you are not fully healed.

Pain Management

Wisdom tooth extraction is associated with mild to moderate pain and discomfort. Managing this discomfort is important for healing and overall well-being. Follow your surgeon’s prescribed pain medication for relief; if over-the-counter pain relievers are recommended, use them as instructed. Applying cold compress or ice packs to your cheeks for the first 24 hours post-surgery can help manage pain, swelling and discomfort.

Diet for Comfort

Your diet in the first few days after your extraction is crucial. Stick to foods that are tender and won’t disturb the extraction site. Think of mashed potatoes, smoothies, soup, or even baby food. These will lessen the chance of irritation or disruption to your healing gums.

Oral Hygiene

Oral hygiene remains important after extraction, but you must keep your mouth clean. Continue to brush your teeth gently and avoid the surgical site during the first 24 hours. After the initial day, rinse your mouth gently with warm saltwater to keep the area clean, but be sure not to swish forcefully as this can dislodge the blood clot, which is crucial for healing.

Don’ts to Avoid Complications

Woman experiencing pain

You must refrain from certain activities to ensure a smooth recovery without the risk of complications.

Strenuous Activity

It is best to avoid vigorous activities for at least a week following your extraction. Strenuous actions can increase bleeding and blood pressure and delay the healing process. Staying relaxed gives your body the best chance to heal itself.

Straws and Suction

Using a straw or spitting forcefully can move the blood clot in the extraction sites, which is essential for clot formation and healing. Dislodging the clot can result in a dry socket, a painful dental condition that occurs when the bone in the empty tooth socket becomes exposed to air and food.

Smoking and Alcohol

Both smoking and alcohol can hinder your body’s natural healing process. Smoking can lead to a dry socket, and the chemicals in tobacco can increase the chance of infection. Alcoholic beverages may prolong bleeding and slow the healing process.

Hot and Spicy Foods

Avoid hot or spicy foods that can cause discomfort or irritation to the extraction site. They also have the potential to increase bleeding or open your wound, leading to delayed healing. In addition, solid foods and hot beverages are also recommended to be avoided to promote healing.

Additional Recovery Tips

Woman holding a giant tooth

In addition to the fundamental dos and don’ts, here are further considerations to help ensure your recovery is as smooth as possible.

Signs of Infection

In the days following your oral surgery, be vigilant for any signs of infection. These can include fever, persistent pain, and swelling.

When to Call Your Dentist

If you experience excessive bleeding, severe pain, or any other concerning symptoms, do not hesitate to call your dentist or dental surgeon. They are there to help you and can provide guidance or solutions for any issues.

Returning to Normal Activity

Your recovery pace is individual, but generally, you can start adding more normal activities back into your routine as you feel comfortable. Listen to your body, and do not rush it.

Cost Considerations

It’s essential to be mindful of the potential costs associated with aftercare. Understand the financial implications of additional treatments or medications and discuss them with your dentist or surgeon.

Age-Specific Considerations

Happy Patient

Recovery advice can vary depending on your age, so it’s essential to consider your specific circumstances and any age-related factors that may apply. For example, younger patients may experience different recovery times than adults.


The success of your wisdom tooth extraction recovery largely depends on the care you provide yourself in the days following the procedure. By following the dos and don’ts supplied by your dentist, you can significantly improve your comfort and minimise any risks of complications.


Is it normal to have swelling after wisdom tooth extraction?

Swelling is a side effect of wisdom tooth extraction. The swelling usually peaks within 48 hours and diminishes over the following days. To reduce this swelling, use ice packs.

What should I do if I experience excessive bleeding after wisdom tooth extraction?

If you experience excessive bleeding, bite on a gauze pad placed directly on the surgical area for 30 minutes. If the bleeding persists, contact your dentist or surgeon.

Can I brush my teeth after wisdom tooth extraction?

You should refrain from brushing your teeth at the extraction site on the day of your surgery. Gentle brushing is advised from the second day without directly touching the extraction site.

Remember, every person’s wisdom tooth extraction experience is unique. Be sure to follow the specific instructions given by your dental professional for the optimal healing process. And most importantly, be patient with yourself—recovery is a process that takes time. By being gentle, cautious, and mindful of your body’s needs, you’ll soon be back to enjoying a healthy, pain-free smile.

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