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Tips for Recovering from Wisdom Teeth Removal

Most people start developing wisdom teeth at 17 years old and may continue to see these teeth break through into their mid-twenties. 

There are a few good reasons to consider if getting your wisdom teeth removed would be the best course of action for you. Sometimes, complications can occur as your wisdom teeth grow in. For example, they may be impacted (angled sideways), which can cause further dental issues and lots of pain. As a result, many people will get their wisdom teeth removed via surgery. It’s estimated that most people recover from wisdom teeth surgery in around two weeks, but the first few days after the procedure can be the most challenging. 

Proper recovery leads to optimal healing and will ensure no further complications arise, such as infection. Below, we share our best tips for how you can recover well from wisdom teeth removal.

Prepare for Recovery in Advance

Your dentist may give you pre-surgery instructions before removing your wisdom teeth. This includes avoiding smoking, consumption of alcohol, and possibly abstaining from food or drink up to 12 hours before your surgery. 

From here, ensure you have all the right supplies and medication: 

  • An over-the-counter painkiller
  • Antiseptic mouthwash to prevent infections
  • Gauze pads for bleeding
  • Ice packs for swelling

You will also need to arrange transportation, as patients usually return home the same day as their removal. Your dentist will advise you on how long you need to wait before you can drive. General anesthesia can cause dizziness and confusion, so be sure to have someone there to help you through your immediate recovery.

Managing Pain and Discomfort

Your oral surgeon will prescribe pain medication to help you manage discomfort in the days after your procedure. Many people find that over-the-counter pain relief is sufficient when dealing with pain and swelling, but it is essential to check with the pharmacist to ensure it’s safe to use it alongside your prescriptions.

Ice packs can ease much of your discomfort. Wrap one in a simple cloth or small towel and apply it to your jaw. It will help the swelling go down by reducing inflammation in the area. Applying an ice pack also helps to numb the area so you don’t feel as much pain. Depending on your soreness, you can do this as often as you want.

It’s common to notice side effects for up to 14 days. Some of the side effects you may experience include:

  • Bleeding from the gum around the tooth
  • Bruised or injured nerves
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Infection at the wound site
  • Swollen gums

If you experience severe side effects or if you suspect you have an infection, talk with your dentist immediately.

Controlling Bleeding

After your wisdom teeth removal, you may experience bleeding at the wound site. This is very common, but it is important to limit bleeding where possible. Biting down on gauze pads, which your dentist will supply, will promote the formation of blood clots. 

Unfortunately, it’s hard to form blood clots in the mouth, as you’re constantly using it to talk and chew. We recommend making alterations to your oral hygiene habits to control bleeding and encourage clot formation: 

  • Avoid rinsing your mouth out and spitting, as this dislodges blood clots
  • Stop brushing vigorously, particularly around the affected area
  • Stay away from chewing gum, as it can open stitches and cause more bleeding

A bit of blood is standard, but if the bleeding continues or worsens, you should contact your dentist right away. They will schedule an emergency appointment to assess the issue and provide a timely solution. 

Eat Soft Foods and Stay Hydrated

After your wisdom teeth are removed, you may find that you have some difficulty eating certain foods. One way to help yourself would be to start with soft or liquid foods, such as smoothies. Apple sauce, broth, soup, yogurt, and purees are also viable options. 

As you feel your wound heal, you can gradually introduce solid food. Be sure to listen to your body and stay hydrated. Drinking water will clean the wound and prevent infections. 

Follow any care instructions your dentist gives, and do not use straws. Straws may dislodge blood clots in the mouth, delaying the healing process.

Practice Oral Hygiene

It’s tempting to forgo your regular oral hygiene routine so your mouth can heal faster, but this is unwise. Neglecting all manner of oral hygiene will make things worse, giving bacteria a chance to form around the wound. This leads to infections that cause further issues and will provide even more recovery time.

Instead, follow a gentle oral hygiene routine: 

  • Brush lightly with a soft toothbrush
  • Avoid flossing around the area, as it can cause more bleeding
  • Use saline solution to clean your mouth
  • Use a mouthwash if prescribed by your dentist


Most importantly, rest is required to give your body the time it needs to heal. Take time off work or school until you’ve fully recovered. You shouldn’t partake in strenuous activities and gradually ease yourself into your daily routine. Prioritize sleep when possible, and use a second pillow to prop your head up at night. This aids recovery by preventing too much blood from going to your head while you sleep, which can exacerbate swelling. 

You should be ready to return to work/school within 1-2 weeks. It depends on how quickly you recover, but a good rule of thumb is to avoid going back until all swelling has subsided, there is no bleeding, and you are not in constant pain. 

Monitor Complications and Side Effects

Keep an eye out for side effects or complications, as you’ll need to treat them before they worsen. Some key things to be aware of are: 

  • Pain, swelling, or bleeding that gets progressively worse
  • Infections, which usually cause more swelling and pain
  • Nausea or vomiting, which can be managed with anti-sickness tablets or ginger remedies
  • Additional symptoms that suddenly appear, such as excessive jaw stiffness, severe bruising, etc. 

You should attend all post-operative appointments throughout the recovery process, as it helps to see how things are going. These appointments will address any complications, and the appropriate steps will be taken to get you back on track.

Wisdom Teeth Removal in Blackfoot, Idaho

It's imperative that you take time to rest after your wisdom teeth removal. Although the recovery process is relatively quick, it’s a serious procedure that requires excellent follow-up care.

Your dentist will give you more specific instructions related to your personal wisdom teeth removal surgery, so try to follow these to the best of your ability and ask any questions that may arise. Be patient, and during your recovery, focus on self-care.

To learn more about whether wisdom teeth removal is the best decision for you, schedule an appointment with Grove City Dental today. Our experienced team can provide expert insight to help you make the most informed decision.

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Grove City Dental