The idea of recovering after wisdom teeth removal can seem daunting to most people. However, knowledge is your best defense. So, knowing how long it takes to recover from wisdom teeth removal and what you can do to promote a speedy recovery can help with anxiety before the procedure.
Why Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Necessary?
Wisdom teeth are the third molars that are located at the very back of the mouth. They are called “wisdom” teeth because most people don’t get them until their late teens or early twenties. These large molars were essential for our ancestors who needed these teeth to chew. Evolution has made our jaws smaller. So, these teeth often do not have room to come in correctly.
For most people, wisdom teeth extraction is necessary. Wisdom teeth can cause problems with the other teeth in the mouth such as crowding. In addition, these teeth are difficult to reach. So, keeping them clean is more difficult, and they are at an increased risk of cavities and infections.
How Can I Prepare Before the Wisdom Teeth Removal Procedure?
Before any tooth extraction, you should be sure to let your dentist know about any medications and supplements you take as well as any medical conditions you might have. This includes both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Be sure to let your dentist know of any medical conditions you may have such as heart disease, diabetes or hypertension.
The day of the wisdom teeth extraction appointment, dress in comfortable clothes. If you are a smoker, it’s best to avoid smoking before the procedure. If you have a cold or any other illness, you should ask your dentist whether the procedure should be rescheduled.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Recovery after your wisdom teeth extraction will take at least a few days. You might experience minor bleeding in the first few hours after the procedure, and you can carefully bite down on clean cotton gauze to help encourage clotting at the extraction site.
You may also have some swelling which you can treat by applying an ice pack periodically for the first 36 hours. There is often some lingering sensitivity, but most people are back to normal after about a week to 10 days. If you had any bruising on your cheeks after the procedure, that should be gone within about two weeks.
Most people experience mild to moderate discomfort in the days following the procedure. Over-the-counter pain relievers are usually adequate for most people. If your pain or other symptoms do not improve in the days following the procedure, be sure to call your dentist.
How Can I Promote Recovery After Wisdom Teeth Extraction?
In addition to getting plenty of rest to help your body recover, here are some additional tips on helping with the healing process.
After Wisdom Teeth Removal: Dos and Don’ts
It’s crucial that you do not do anything to dislodge the blood clots forming at the extraction sites. This puts you at risk of developing a painful condition known as dry socket, and it will slow down the healing process. Avoid smoking, drinking out of a straw or any other kind of sucking motion.
You probably won’t feel much like exercising or doing much of anything after the procedure. It’s best to hold off a few days before resuming your workouts or other routine activities.
Eating will be a bit of a challenge for the first few days. Stick to soft foods with maximum nutrition that are easy to chew and less likely to get stuck in the extraction site. Good nutrition is a vital part of the recovery process. Suggested foods include the following:
- Bone broth
- Cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Mashed potatoes
- Nutritional shakes
Keeping Your Mouth Clean
Taking good care of your oral health is an essential part of the healing process. You can brush and floss after the extractions, but you should steer clear of the extraction sites for at least three days after the procedure. This is to protect the clot that is forming at the site. If you had stitches, which is more common with removing impacted wisdom teeth, be sure to rinse your mouth with water after eating to help flush out any food particles.
If you are a smoker, you should avoid smoking for at least 72 hours after your procedure. Not only does the inhalation action of smoking put you at risk of dry socket, but it also introduces toxins and bacteria into your mouth. This could lead to an infection.
What To Watch For After a Tooth Extraction
Most people experience a few days of mild pain and swelling, but those symptoms subside as the healing continues. If your pain is getting worse instead of better, or if you are still bleeding after 24 hours, this could be a sign of infection. Other signs of infection include an unpleasant odor coming from your mouth or discharge around the extraction site. It’s crucial to report these signs to your dentist as soon as possible.
West Coast Dental for Wisdom Teeth Removal
When it comes to oral surgery and wisdom teeth removal, you want to feel reassured that you are in safe and experienced hands. The board-certified oral surgeons at West Coast Dental and their network of clinics, including our dentists in Menifee, Westcoast Dental of Moreno Valley, West Coast Dental of Hemet, and other West Coast Dental clinics in California, have the skills and experience you expect. Contact the West Coast Dental team today at 888-329-8111 to schedule an appointment or book one online.
Livestrong – Can I Exercise After Wisdom Teeth Extraction?
The Mayo Clinic – Dry Socket
The Mayo Clinic – Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Medical News Today – Wisdom teeth removal recovery: Timeline, healing, and care
Mouth Healthy – Wisdom Teeth