Recovery from wisdom teeth removal usually takes a couple of weeks.
Some people might need stitches to help close the wound.
The dental surgeon will usually remove the stitches after about 1 week.
Sometimes, the surgery causes bruising, swelling, and pain, which will also require time to heal.
Recovery from wisdom tooth surgery will be gradual, but people should see some improvement every day.
The healing process can be broken down into the following stages:
- First 24 hours: Blood clots will form.
- 2 to 3 days: Swelling of the mouth and cheeks should improve.
- 7 days: A dentist can remove any stitches that remain.
- 7 to 10 days: Jaw stiffness and soreness should go away.
- 2 weeks: Any mild bruising on the face should heal.
Recovery time will be different from one person to another. If blood clots become dislodged from the wound, or the wound becomes infected, recovery may take longer.
How to speed up healing
Blood clots will form in the place where the tooth was removed. Blood clots are an essential part of the healing process because they:
- help prevent too much bleeding
- protect the wound from infection
- allow new tissue to grow
- protect the exposed bone
It is particularly important not to dislodge these blood clots in the first 24 hours. People should avoid:
- Brushing teeth next to the extraction site
- Rinsing the mouth
- Drinking hot drinks
- Eating food that requires chewing
- Avoiding sucking on straws, smoking, or drinking alcohol for at least 24 hours
It is a good idea to gently rinse the mouth with antiseptic mouth rinse after 24 hours.
What can you do immediately after surgery?
Pain relief medication may help to relieve discomfort after wisdom teeth removal.
People should take the advice of their dentist or surgeon on how to aid recovery.
They should give clear information on any medication to take and what to do to encourage healing.
Advice might include biting on a gauze pad in the extraction area for 30 minutes.
A dentist or surgeon may also suggest using an ice pack for the first few hours after surgery.
Holding an ice pack to the outside of the face over the area of the extraction site for 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off will help reduce discomfort and swelling.
People will not be able to drive for 48 hours if they have been in the hospital for surgery and had a general anesthetic. If possible, it is a good idea to take 1 or 2 days off work or school after surgery.
People can take pain relief medication, such as ibuprofen, to help with pain and discomfort after wisdom tooth surgery. Ibuprofen is available for purchase over the counter or online.
Tips for home care
It is essential to keep the wound clean while it is healing. Because people still need to eat and drink, food can easily get stuck in the area where the tooth was removed. This can make keeping the wound area clean a bit challenging.
Try the following to help keep the wound clean:
- using an antiseptic mouth rinse to prevent infection. A range of products is available for purchase online.
- rinsing with warm water and salt to reduce swelling and soothe sore gums
- raising the head when sleeping to feel more comfortable
As well as pain, some people will feel tired after having their wisdom teeth out and might choose to avoid exercise for a few days after the surgery.