Back molars, commonly referred to as wisdom teeth, emerge between the ages of 17-21. They are the last adult teeth to develop and appear on the top and bottom part of both jaws.
Many people experience difficulties with wisdom teeth as their jaws do not have enough room to accommodate these teeth, and this often leads to a variety of problems.
Some of the problems you may experience with wisdom teeth include inflamed gums or pain in the back of the jaw. If these occur, your dentist is likely to recommend surgery to have them removed.
These surgeries are prevalent, and wisdom teeth recovery can take up to a week, depending on your case. Pain, discomfort, and swelling are common experiences after the tooth pulling process, but everything is bearable.
Keep reading to learn more about wisdom teeth removal and recovery timelines.
What to Expect Immediately After Wisdom Tooth Removal
Wisdom teeth surgery is an outpatient procedure that normally takes less than an hour to complete. You will not need to spend the day or night at the hospital, but you may need a ride from your oral surgeon facility.
Depending on the anesthesia administered, you will certainly have a muzzy feeling. It is, therefore, important that you have a family member or friend drive you home after the procedure.
During wisdom teeth extraction, you probably won’t be fully aware of what is happening, and it may take longer before you wake up. However, you can leave the dentist’s office soon after the surgery is complete.
When you first wake up, you will feel numbness in your mouth. Also, you may notice slight bleeding in your mouth a few hours after surgery.
It is important that you take a rest for the day after surgery and avoid any strenuous activity. For people who got their impacted wisdom teeth extracted, they will need to observe more precautions including;
- Keeping a gauze pad over the area of extraction for recommended time. Your dentist may give you additional gauze pads to use for several hours
- Taking painkillers or antibiotics
- Using an ice pack on the side of your jaw where teeth were extracted
Other things you may experience a few hours after surgery include vomiting and nausea. This may be caused by general anesthesia, sedation, or swallowed blood. However, if you continue to vomit, you should call your surgeon.
How Long Does It Take to Recover After Wisdom Teeth Removal?
The reality is that there is no exact wisdom teeth recovery timeline we can give since our bodies are different. However, in general, you should expect to recover within one week of your surgery. The swelling will have waned, and the bruising will be faded within two weeks. Your wound should heal within a month after surgery.
Although in most cases, wisdom teeth removal procedures are successful, it is important to know the signs of potential complications or infections.
Signs of potential infection or complications after wisdom teeth removal:
- Swelling doesn’t subside
- Pus or oozing from gums
- Breathing problems
- Excessive vomiting or persistent nausea feeling
In case you experience any of the above symptoms several days after surgery, do not hesitate to call your surgeon.
Home Care; The Do’s And Don’ts after Wisdom Teeth Surgery
Once the wisdom teeth surgery is done, your oral surgeon or dentist will give you information on how to take care of your mouth during recovery. Here are the Do’s:
- Take your pain medication as prescribed by your surgeon
- Change your gauze every hour
- Remove your gauze pad as per your surgeon instructions
- Eat only soft foods
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Use an ice-pack after surgery
- Use a wedge pillow when sleeping to elevate your head
- Brush your teeth or floss for the first 24 hours
- Rinse your mouth vigorously
- Drink fluids from a straw during the first three days after surgery
- Drive a vehicle or operate heavy machines for the first 48 hours
- Perform strenuous activities for at least 4 days
- Eat hard, crunchy or sticky foods
- Eat a lot of sugar as it can slow the healing process
- Use more pain medication than prescribed
See Also: Wisdom Teeth Removal Aftercare
Tips for Fast Recovery after Wisdom Teeth Removal
Prevent dry socket
Dry socket occurs when you lose the blood clot that forms on the extraction site. This can be painful since it reveals the underlying bone.
Your dentist or oral surgeon should give you instructions for home care after surgery. Some of the instructions you will be given to prevent dry socket include;
- Avoiding vigorous rinsing
- Soaking new gauze pads in water before using them
- Avoid smoking, sucking or drinking fluids through a straw
- Using antibiotics as prescribed
- Eating soft foods
If dry socket happens, notify your dentist as it may increase your risk of infections.
Ice your cheek during two days after surgery
Applying ice on your cheeks(s) as much as you can during the first two days after surgery can help reduce inflammations and swelling. By icing your cheek consistently, you can reduce swelling and pain during your recovery time.
Note; do not apply heat to your cheeks for the first 3 days after your surgery, as this can increase blood flow to the site.
Elevate your head when you sleep
It is important to keep your head, and upper body elevated when you sleep. This will help reduce blood flow to your upper body. You can use a travel pillow when you are in an upright position to keep your head elevated.
Other tips for faster recovery
- Gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water severally each day to keep your wound clean
- Avoid breathing through your mouth, as this can make your mouth dry out. A dry mouth can cause pH imbalance, and this can increase the chances of infection
- Drink coconut water to stabilize your blood sugar levels
- Rest and avoid strenuous exercises
- Avoid overusing medications
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the symptoms of wisdom teeth?
The most common symptoms are pain in the jaw, swelling on the gum, and tenderness. Others may have a discharge when an infection is present. Some people may not show any visible signs of wisdom teeth removal.
Is it necessary to have your wisdom teeth removed?
One of the circumstances that can necessitate the removal of a tooth is an impacted tooth that is likely to cause crowding. A wisdom tooth that’s correctly positioned should be left to grow.
What’s an impacted wisdom tooth?
This is a wisdom tooth that grows too closer to the second molar that it cannot develop normally.
Are there any problems that could arise if I do not remove an impacted wisdom teeth?
Any wisdom tooth that’s not growing correctly might cause further issues like damage to adjacent teeth. Other issues include inflamed gum tissues, cavities, cyst growth, and sinus infections.
How much does it cost to have my wisdom tooth removed?
It depends on the position and complexity of each wisdom tooth. Another major factor is your dental insurance. For more information, kindly contact our office.
What should I take to ease pain after the extraction of wisdom teeth?
Aftercare instructions include 30-minute icing plus pain medication to use depending on your health, allergies, and medical history. Our assistants will also provide more guidance to improve pain recovery.
Will I have stitches after the removal of wisdom teeth?
Not everyone requires sutures placed where the wisdom teeth are removed. If you do, the stitches should dissolve on their own within weeks.
What are dry sockets?
A socket is the space (hole) left after a tooth is removed. After tooth removal, the clot forms in this “hole” to protect the bone and nerves around. If that clot is dislodged, the bone and nerves may be exposed to air and food, causing infections – or a dry socket.
What are the signs of a dry socket?
These typically occur within four days of wisdom teeth removal. One of the initial signs that you have dry sockets is pain that goes through your ear and doesn’t ease with medication. Dry sockets also cause a foul smell in your mouth.
Can I brush my teeth after the removal of wisdom teeth?
It’s wise to avoid brushing for at least 24 hours after removal. And if you do, be gentle around the site of extraction to avoid dislodging the tissue.
Can I gargle after my wisdom tooth is removed?
As with brushing, avoid gargling for at least 24 hours. Following that, you should swish lightly with warm water without being vigorous to aid in wisdom teeth recovery.
Can I travel after undergoing a wisdom teeth removal procedure?
We recommend having rest for at least a day following the removal of wisdom teeth. The peak of discomfort is likely to be on the third and fourth day, so you should plan accordingly. However, traveling after surgery will not affect your healing process.
Is smoking safe after wisdom tooth removal?
It is not considered safe to smoke within the first 48 hours for a reason. A blood clot has to develop over the site to assist in healing. The act of inhaling can burst it, delaying the wisdom teeth recovery timeline.
Wisdom teeth surgery is a relatively safe procedure, and if you follow all your dentist or oral surgeon advice, you will be on your way to healing within no time.
You will definitely experience some swelling, discomfort, and pain after your teeth are extracted, but these will soon go away. Good oral hygiene, a healthy diet, and nose breathing will help you recover within a short time.