Wisdom Teeth Recovery Tips

Frequently Asked Questions about Recovering from Wisdom Teeth Removal

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 vacations are ideal times to schedule surgery.

What type of stitches 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.

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.

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.

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.

How long until I can blow on a band instrument?

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