Wisdom Teeth Removal FAQs

Tips for Wisdom Teeth Recovery

Q: What Will I Feel Like after Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery?

On the first day after surgery, you may experience some minor bleeding and pain. You should cover your pillowcase with something so that you don’t get any blood on it. Each individual’s reaction to surgery varies, and the sensation of pain can range from mild discomfort to severe pain.

A variable amount of swelling can be expected following the surgery. This swelling usually peaks on the second day and should begin resolving on the third day. You can limit the amount of swelling you will have by using ice for the entire first day.

The more ice you use the first day, the less swelling you are likely to have on the second day. Please remember to put ice on the first day even if it is somewhat uncomfortable to have a cold next to your skin.

On the third day, you will notice that your jaw muscles are stiff, and it is difficult to open your mouth normally. You can apply moist heat to your face on the second and third day allowing your muscles to relax more and open wider. Most of the time you will want to limit your activities for a few days.

We ask that you follow your post-operative instructions closely. Doing so will make you as comfortable as possible during the first few days following your procedure. Please allow time for your body to begin healing before resuming an active social, academic, or athletic schedule. Most patients feel like they are over the hump and on their way to recovery in 3 to 5 days.

Q: How long do I use the gauze?

It usually takes about 2-3 hours for a good blood clot to form. Once the gauze is no longer collecting active bleeding, the blood clot is formed and the gauze should be discontinued. It is normal to have some oozing over the first 24 hours.

Q: What medication do I use after wisdom teeth removal?

Motrin or ibuprofen (NSAID’s) should be used as the primary pain controller.  Recent studies show evidence NSAID’s are a more effective pain reliever than narcotics, which should be used only for severe pain. For most patients, it is okay to take these medications together.

Q: How long until I can eat normally?

Start with clear liquids and then slowly progress to soft foods as you feel up to it. You’ll want to ease into eating normal foods and try some by the second or third day after surgery.

Q: Can I drink alcohol after wisdom teeth removal?

No. Refrain from drinking alcohol for the first 24 hours after surgery because it can cause post-operative bleeding and impair blood clot formation. Straws and smoking are two other things you want to make sure to after surgery They have the potential to dislodge the clot and slow your healing leading to a dry socket.

Q: Is it ok to exercise?

Refrain from any strenuous exercise for the first 5-7 days after surgery. Once your pain has decreased and you’re no longer using over-the-counter pain medications, you can return to your regular exercise routine.

Q: How long does it take to recover?

The average patient recovers from wisdom tooth surgery in about 3-5 days, but everyone is different. The best way to ensure your healing process is normal is to follow the post-operative instructions you’ll get after surgery.

Q: How many days should I expect to be out?

Since every wisdom tooth patient is different, the number of days you’ll have to take off depends on how quickly you recover. We recommend giving yourself three days off before returning to school or work. Holidays and summer vacation are ideal times to schedule surgery.

Q: Why type of stiches do you use for wisdom teeth removal?

We use self-dissolving stitches to close the tissues over the extraction site. They should disappear in about a week.

Q: How long will I be swollen?

It’s normal for patients to have swelling after surgery and typically peaks in 3 days. It will then slowly get better. Ice is helpful to control this swelling for the first 48 hours.

Q: What side effects should I watch for?

If your pain or swelling gets worse instead of better as time progresses (after 5-10 days), you may have a dry socket. This occurs when the blood clot over the extraction site is knocked loose, exposing nerves and bone. To avoid this happening, do not smoke, use a straw, or spit forcefully.

Q: Can I brush my teeth after wisdom teeth removal?

On the first day, you should gently rinse with salt water to keep the extraction site clean. You can return to regular teeth brushing after the first 24 hours, taking extra care around the extraction sites.

Q: How long until I can blow on a band instrument?

We recommend you wait a week before returning to playing your instrument.

Q: Are There Any Problems after the Extraction of Wisdom Teeth?

As with any medical procedure, there can be complications or an unanticipated result. Some complications that patients undergoing Wisdom Tooth Extraction may experience include: Damage to the sensory nerve that supplies sensation to the lips and tongue, sinus communication, infections, and dry sockets.

After the procedure, our assistants will review your post-operative instructions with your escort. We ask that you follow these instructions closely, as they will make you most comfortable following your procedure. If you were sedated, you will be comfortable and drowsy when you leave the office.

Most patients prefer to go home and rest with no other physical or scholastic activities planned for a few days. With any medical procedure, there can be unexpected results. These can include delayed healing, infection, and post-operative numbness or tingling in your lip, chin, or tongue. The oral surgeon will review relevant post-operative events with you and answer any questions during your office visit.