How Long is the Recovery Time After Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

With the extraction of wisdom teeth comes the dreaded pain, swelling and nagging discomfort that follows. This is all part of the normal process of healing. But, it may seem like the recovery time will go on forever. You might feel frustrated when trying to bite or chew anything firm or crunchy.

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to emerge in a mature mouth. They are also called the third molars. It is very common for these teeth to need to be removed for one reason
or another. They are not essential for proper function. Sometimes they cause more harm than good. Generally, between age 16 and 20 is when wisdom teeth erupt and oftentimes there isn’t enough room left. Because of this lack of space, they tend to grow in crooked, they can cause overcrowding or they only emerge partially. Infections, pain, and misalignments may occur.

Getting wisdom teeth removed

It is recommended by The American Dental Association that everyone have a dental exam before they reach 20 years of age, to determine how well the third molars are advancing. Impaction can be seen even if the roots are not yet fully developed. If needed, wisdom tooth extraction can be performed in one outpatient visit. However, this is a major surgical procedure that requires either local or general anesthesia. After the effects wear off, it is part of the process for patients to experience pain and swelling after wisdom teeth are removed. The recovery period begins as soon as the surgery ends.

After wisdom teeth removal

After wisdom teeth removal there will be some bleeding and discomfort. Do not dislodge the blood clot or irritate your traumatized gums while they are healing. Stay away from solid foods, hot beverages, coffee, soda and alcohol for several days after wisdom tooth extraction. Don’t even brush your teeth on the first day following surgery. Wisdom teeth recovery time can vary from three days to a whole week. It is determinant on how the teeth erupted and the severity of the impaction.

Wisdom teeth recovery

There are a few steps you can take to help make recovery time less miserable. Relax and rest for several days. Most of the time patients can get back to their normal routines by the next day following wisdom tooth extraction. However, it is best to avoid any activities that may force the blood clot to dislodge. This clot develops in the areas where teeth are removed. Pain can be managed with non-prescription pain medications. To reduce swelling after wisdom teeth removal, hold an ice pack on your jaw. The ice will reduce inflammation and ease discomfort.

You will be given care instructions by your oral surgeon or dentist regarding wisdom teeth recovery. Brushing, flossing, spitting, and rinsing should be avoided within the first 24 hours after wisdom tooth removal. After that initial period, brush your teeth very gently. Use rinse of warm water and salt to ward off infection. Stick to a diet of soft foods for a couple of days. Yogurt, applesauce, meal replacement shakes and cottage cheese are good, healthy choices. Gradually re-introduce semi-soft items as you can tolerate them.

If you begin to experience any unusual discharge of pus, increasing pain or a fever, contact your oral surgeon immediately. Complications are rare, but they are possible.