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Wisdom Tooth Extraction Recovery: 7 Things to Consider After Surgery

The extraction of third molars, commonly known as wisdom teeth, is something that many patients undergo.

You’re not alone if you find yourself post-surgery amid an orchestra of peculiar sensations in your mouth. The following days after wisdom tooth extraction can boost your recovery and oral health. The road to recovery from a wisdom tooth extraction can be tough; however, you can lessen the pain and encourage healing with care and attention.

This article will teach you what to consider after your wisdom tooth removal. Make sure to read it until the end.

What to Expect After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Swollen gum

After wisdom tooth removal surgery, these are the following things you might experience:

  • Pain: It’s common to experience pain, especially after the general anaesthesia subsides. This may vary from mild to severe.
  • Swelling: Swelling around the extraction sites and possibly the surrounding gums and cheeks is normal.
  • Discomfort: You might feel pain and be a little uncomfortable because of a sore jaw.
  • Bleeding: To experience bleeding is quite normal after the surgery. Blood clots form to help the mouth heal.
  • Unpleasant taste: You might experience a foul taste in your mouth due to the surgery.
  • Dry socket: If blood clots dislodge from the surgical site, a dry socket can occur, causing more pain.
  • Throbbing pain: Throbbing pain is expected around the extraction site, especially in the first few days after surgery.
  • Difficulty opening the mouth: At times, jaw stiffness can occur, making it hard to open your mouth thoroughly.
  • Swollen gums: Swelling of the gums is expected after the surgery.
  • Ice packs: Putting ice packs on the cheeks can help reduce swelling and alleviate discomfort.
  • Pain medication: Your oral surgeon may prescribe or recommend pain medication to manage discomfort.

7 Key Considerations for Wisdom Tooth Extraction and Recovery

Pain Management

OTC medicines for pain relief

Following wisdom teeth extraction, pain is an unwanted guest that frequently remains much too long.

Here are options that provide relief when managing pain after wisdom tooth surgery:

  • Over-the-counter medication: Numerous over-the-counter pain medications are available to help reduce discomfort. Often, these drugs are adequate for mild-to-moderate pain.
  • Prescription medication: In cases of severe pain after wisdom teeth removal, your dental surgeon may prescribe more vital pain medication, such as opioids. Carefully following your dentist’s dosage instructions when taking pain medicine is essential to minimise the pain.
  • Cold compress: Applying a cold compress to the cheeks outside the extraction site provides temporary pain relief as it can help reduce swelling and numb the area.
  • Avoiding certain activities: Activities such as smoking, drinking alcohol, using straws, and consuming hot or spicy foods can aggravate the extraction site and increase pain. Avoiding these activities can help manage discomfort.
  • Rest: Reducing discomfort and accelerating healing can be achieved by resting and avoiding demanding activities.
  • Oral hygiene: Maintaining good dental hygiene can help prevent infections and lessen pain. Brush your teeth gently and rinse them off with an antiseptic mouthwash.

Your dentist will provide specific pain management instructions, catering to your individual needs and the complexity of your surgery. Ask your dentist or oral surgeon before starting pain medications or steps, and follow their recommendations closely.

Dietary Restrictions

Oatmeal with fruits

The post-extraction period requires a temporary shift in your diet to accommodate the healing period. Opting for soft foods in the days immediately following surgery can prevent irritation to the extraction site and maintain your nutrient intake, albeit through a soft medium.

A soft diet after wisdom teeth removal surgery is crucial for initial healing. Here’s why:

  • It does not irritate the extraction site, making it simple to chew and swallow. This lowers the possibility of displacing blood clots and speeds up recovery.
  • Foods that are tough or crunchy can be painful to eat and may cause pain, especially in the days right after surgery.
  • Soft food consumption lessens the strain on the jaw, which may be uncomfortable or stiff following surgery.
  • It is less likely to become lodged at the extraction point, which lowers the possibility of infection and further issues.

Examples of soft foods suitable for the first few days after wisdom tooth removal include:

  • Yoghurt
  • Applesauce
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Smoothies or milkshakes
  • Pudding or custard
  • Oatmeal or porridge
  • Scrambled eggs or soft-boiled eggs
  • Soup (avoiding hot temperature)

As healing progresses, you can slowly reintroduce regular foods into your diet. However, avoid hard, spicy, or sticky foods until your dentist or oral surgeon advises otherwise.

Remember to prevent future oral health problems by gently rinsing your mouth after eating and avoiding vigorous swishing to prevent dislodging blood clots. Always follow your dentist’s or oral surgeon’s dietary recommendations for optimal healing and recovery.

Oral Hygiene


Maintaining oral health without disturbing the process is vital after the impacted wisdom tooth surgery as it helps prevent further dental problems and keeps your mouth healthy.

Here’s why it’s important and some essential practices to follow:

  • Prevent infections: Keeping the site clean reduces the chances of having a disease, which can lead to further complications such as dry sockets.
  • Promoting healing: Good oral hygiene supports the healing period and other teeth by removing food particles and bacteria from the mouth.
  • Protecting surrounding teeth: Proper oral care helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease in neighbouring teeth.
  • Minimising discomfort: Gentle oral hygiene practices can help reduce pain and discomfort.

Here are a few ways to maintain good oral hygiene practices after wisdom tooth surgery:

  • Gentle brushing: To avoid irritation, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gently brush your teeth, especially at the extraction site.
  • Flossing with care: Per your dentist’s instruction, you can floss carefully not to disturb the healing tissue or dislodge blood clots.
  • Using saltwater rinse: You can add salt to your warm water and rinse your mouth gently a few times a day, after meals, to keep the site clean and heal faster.
  • Avoid harsh mouthwashes: As much as possible, start using an alcohol-free antiseptic mouthwash that your dentist prescribes. Do not use the ones that contain strong chemicals or alcohol, as it can irritate the extraction site.
  • Follow your dentist: Follow your oral surgeon’s instructions to keep your teeth clean after your wisdom tooth surgery.

Rest and Recovery

Getting enough rest is vital for a smooth recovery after wisdom tooth removal. Rest allows your body to divert energy towards the healing process, promoting faster recovery and reducing the risk of complications.

Here are some general recovery tips to help in healing:

  • Raise your head while sleeping: Keeping your head elevated with an extra pillow or two can help reduce swelling and discomfort.
  • Avoid strenuous activity: After the wisdom tooth removal, avoiding extreme activities during the first few days after surgery is vital to prevent complications and heal faster.
  • Take it easy: Do not be too hard on yourself; allow your extracted wisdom tooth site to heal properly before going back to your routine. Avoid doing extreme physical stuff that can stress your teeth and body.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking lots of water and electrolyte drinks helps you stay hydrated, but do not use straws because they can dislodge blood clots as you suck and can disrupt the healing phase.

Potential Complications

Potential complications after wisdom tooth removal can arise despite proper care. Recognising warning signs and seeking prompt dental attention if needed is crucial.

Here are some common complications and their associated symptoms:

  • Infection: Signs of infection include increasing pain, swelling, redness, warmth, or drainage of pus from the extraction site.
  • Dry socket: You may experience severe pain that develops a few days after surgery, a foul taste or odour in the mouth, and visible bone in the site.
  • Excessive bleeding: If you experience persistent bleeding after the first 24 hours of wisdom tooth surgery, contact your dentist immediately.
  • Nerve damage: You may feel a bit of numbness or tingling in the lips, chin, tongue, or gums, which could indicate injury to the inferior alveolar nerve.
  • Delayed healing: If the surgical site does not heal or show any signs of recovery, it may indicate a problem that requires a dentist or oral surgeon evaluation.

Prevention is always better to avoid further oral health problems and promote optimal healing after wisdom tooth extraction, so consult your dentist if you ever experience such complications.

Individual Variation

The healing time after wisdom tooth surgery can vary significantly for every person due to individual factors. Age can influence recovery speed, with younger patients healing more quickly than older ones.

The number of teeth extracted also plays a role because extracting four wisdom teeth requires longer recovery than a single oral surgery. Furthermore, the complexity of the procedure will also depend on the complexity of the procedure.

Returning to Normal Activities

Returning to normal activities after wisdom teeth removal requires a slow approach to ensure proper healing and minimise complications.

  • Work/school: After the dental procedures, most people can generally return to work or school within 2-3 days if they’ve undergone a minor surgical procedure or depending on the extent of surgery and recovery speed.
  • Exercise: Refrain from exhausting your body for at least two weeks after the surgery. You can start doing light exercises and activities such as walking avoid extreme ones that can increase blood pressure or risk injury to the surgical site.
  • Driving: Avoid driving vehicles if you received IV sedation or anaesthesia during the procedure for at least 24 hours or until you no longer feel any dizziness.
  • Eating: As much as possible, avoid eating hard and spicy foods that can irritate the extraction sites if there is still pain. However, you can slowly start your regular diet if you are more comfortable and healing.
  • Oral hygiene: Brush your teeth gently and rinse your mouth, but avoid the extraction site. You may also floss carefully around the surgical area if instructed by your dentist.

Your health and body is more important than anything else. Take your time going back to your normal activities. If you experience increased pain, swelling, a severe blood clot, or other concerning symptoms, consult your dentist for further instructions.

Following your Dentist’s Instructions

Adhering to your dentist’s post-operative instructions ensures a successful recovery after wisdom tooth extraction. Your dentist or oral surgeon gives these guides based on your individual needs and the specifics of your procedure. Here’s why following their guidance is essential:

  • Promotes optimal healing
  • Reduces discomfort
  • Prevents complications

Having an open relationship with your dentist can help you communicate well if you have any questions regarding the healing process.


The dentists’ advice will help you recover from a wisdom tooth extraction. Resting, eating the right food, and practising good oral hygiene are essential for faster healing and pain reduction. Pain medications also help minimise the pain and avoid further problems such as dry sockets, gum disease, and other infections.

Slowly returning to your daily activities at work or school is one thing to consider carefully as you start to heal and your body can adjust. Consulting your dental provider ensures that you do anything that can affect your permanent molars and overall health.

Let Us Help You in Taking Care of Your Dental Health

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