If you’re experiencing inflamed gums and pain in the back of your jaw that’s becoming progressively worse, you may have impacted wisdom teeth.
While not everyone develops wisdom teeth or even needs to have them removed, if yours are causing issues, you should schedule an appointment with a dental professional.
A failure to properly address a potential need for wisdom teeth extraction can lead to gum disease, a shift in the position of your teeth, and many more serious dental problems.
Of course, many patients are understandably nervous about getting a wisdom tooth extraction as well as the overall recovery process.
So, how long does it take to recover from wisdom teeth removal?
Read on to learn what you need to know about your recovery timeline and what to expect after the procedure.
Immediately After a Wisdom Tooth Extraction
So, what should you expect directly after the extraction is finished?
Depending on the kind of anesthesia you’ve had, you’ll certainly feel a bit groggy (we’ve all seen those entertaining videos.) It’s essential that you have a friend or family member drive you home after your surgery.
Refrain from touching your mouth in any way so that you don’t pull out the stitches or risk infection. Additionally, don’t brush or floss your teeth for 24 hours after the extraction, as this can cause bacteria and plaque to get trapped in the socket — leading to the potential for quite serious infections.
You will not be able to eat solid foods for a minimum of 48 hours after your surgery. When you drink water, you should also avoid using straws as the suction can damage your sockets and pull out the stitches.
Avoid drinking anything that’s above room temperature, as this will be quite painful.
During the first 24 hours of after your surgery, your best bet is to simply relax in bed. You’ll be quite tired from the anesthesia, and will most likely just want to sleep. (This is especially true if your doctor has prescribed you any pain medication.)
The first 24 hours are the most crucial because this is when blood clots form. Bleeding from the mouth and gums is normal, and many choose to use an ice pack to help them stay comfortable.
After The First 24 Hours
The most intense part of your wisdom tooth extraction recovery is over after the first 24 hours, but you’ll still need to take precaution.
For at least four days, avoid solid foods, heavy lifting, and exercise. We suggest foods like mashed potatoes, applesauce, lukewarm soup, and of course, ice cream. You can also eat jello, eggs, mashed bananas, and even soft noodles. Do not eat anything spicy, as this can cause extreme pain at the wound site.
Gently brush your teeth but always avoid using an electric toothbrush. You should not smoke or drink caffeine and alcohol for at least three days after surgery.
Now, you can rinse your mouth with room-temperature salt water or use the anesthetic rinsing solution provided by your surgeon. However, make sure that you don’t spit in your sink after you’ve rinsed, as this can also damage the stitches and wound.
Instead, just tilt your head over the sink and let the solution fall out of your mouth.
It’s essential that you follow the rules because new tissue needs to grow in your mouth in order to cover your exposed bone and prevent infection. If you’re experiencing severe pain, try raising your head or even sleeping with your head slightly raised.
Usually, you’ll go back to your surgeon about a week after you’ve had your surgery. During your follow-up appointment, they’ll remove the stitches and check to ensure that everything is healing properly.
How Long Does It Take to Recover from Wisdom Teeth Removal?
While we wish we could give you a more exact timeline, the reality is that the answer to the question, “How long does it take to recover from wisdom teeth removal?” is different for everyone.
In general, you should expect to feel better within one week of your surgery. Within two weeks, the swelling will have subsided and any bruising will have faded. The wound should entirely heal about one month after your surgery date.
That being said, there are a few signs of potential complications and infections that you need to be aware of.
If your gum swelling doesn’t subside or gets worse, if you notice pus and oozing from the gums, or if you have a fever, call your oral surgeon immediately. The same thing goes if you have severe halitosis or if you’re struggling to swallow or breathe.
Additionally, if you’re vomiting or feeling nauseous, you may be allergic to your pain medication.
Don’t delay in getting the help you need.
You’re Ready for Your Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Though we know you’re likely not exactly looking forward to having a wisdom teeth extraction, being able to answer the question, “How long does it take to recover from wisdom teeth removal?” should help you to feel a bit more comfortable.
Ask friends and family to come check on you if you live alone. Make sure you follow all of your surgeon’s instructions to the letter to ensure a speedy, safe recovery.
Before you know it, you’ll feel like yourself — and enjoy the pain relief an extraction provides.
Need more advice on proper oral hygiene? Curious about the connection between teeth and gums and your overall health? Want to know what to expect from another kind of surgery?
Keep checking back in with our blog for all the health and wellness advice you need.