Wisdom Teeth Removal — What to Expect During Recovery

by | Apr 29, 2023

Wisdom teeth removal is a common oral surgery that 85% of people need at some point.1 Like other types of oral surgery, you can expect a recovery period with specific side effects and aftercare requirements. Here’s what you need to know if you need your wisdom teeth removed.

Healing After Wisdom Teeth Removal

After your wisdom teeth removal, the gums over the empty socket will have to heal. It can take several months for the area to heal completely, but you’ll only have any noticeable side effects and aftercare requirements for up to a week or two following the procedure.

There are several steps you can take to ensure proper healing. After your wisdom teeth removal, your oral surgeon may prescribe specific medications, which you should take according to their instructions.

Antibiotics may be necessary to prevent infection. Bacteria in your mouth can infect the socket during healing, leading to complications. In most cases, following aftercare instructions and maintaining good oral hygiene is enough to prevent infection.

If you experience pain or discomfort, you can rely on over-the-counter pain relief medications. However, aspirin, in particular, should be avoided unless you were instructed to continue taking it by your doctor. This medication thins the blood, which is something you don’t want while you are healing.

Recovery time can vary depending on many individual factors. Some wisdom teeth removals are straightforward and have less of an impact. In other cases, your wisdom teeth may be impacted and require more invasive removal. Most patients feel fine after three days or so, with side effects fading entirely within a week.

Side Effects to Watch For

It’s essential to monitor any side effects after your wisdom teeth removal. If something seems unusual, contact your oral surgeon to determine what may be wrong and if intervention is necessary.

In most cases, some side effects are expected during recovery. Swelling, soreness, pain, and bleeding can occur in the affected area over the first few days. If you notice these signs worsening instead of improving, you should call your oral surgeon’s office.

Infection is a serious concern after any oral surgery. You should watch closely for any signs of infection and act quickly if they are present. Fever is a standard indicator of infection, as is numbness in and around the extraction site.

If you experience trouble swallowing or breathing, you should contact your oral surgeon. Other severe signs of concern include:

  • Blood or pus coming out of your nose
  • Persistent bleeding
  • Severe swelling
  • Pain that over-the-counter medication can’t manage

Reach out to your oral surgeon if you notice these signs after your wisdom teeth removal. In rare cases a severe complication can occur which can cause trouble breathing. You should call 911 if you experience trouble breathing. Infection and other complications can affect other teeth and soft tissue if left untreated, potentially leading to more invasive treatment in the long run.

Potential Complications During Wisdom Tooth Removal Recovery

During your recovery, several potential complications can occur in rare cases. Following your oral surgeon’s aftercare instructions closely and reaching out about any irregularities can help prevent these issues from happening.

A dry socket is the most common complication of wisdom tooth removal and is a risk with other tooth extractions. When a clot doesn’t form correctly or is dislodged after forming, sensitive gum tissue can be exposed.

A dry socket can cause severe pain that typical over-the-counter medication won’t be able to address. You can contact your oral surgeon, who can prescribe stronger medication or other interventions. A dry socket generally doesn’t have a lasting impact but can make a recovery a more challenging experience.

Infection is another potential complication. Bacteria are always present in your mouth and can reach below the gums if the extraction site is infected. This is why concurrent signs of gum disease may delay your oral surgery until bacteria levels are under control.

An infection related to wisdom tooth extraction can spread if not treated. It can affect nearby teeth, gum tissue, and bone. If left untreated, the infection can serious, even life-threatening complication. Taking the prescribed antibiotics, monitoring the area, and reporting an unusual signs can help prevent such serious complications.

Your Diet During Recovery

Your oral surgeon will give you specific aftercare requirements after any type of oral surgery to ensure a fast and comfortable healing process. Some of the most essential requirements concern your diet during recovery.

You don’t want any bits of food getting stuck in the socket as it heals, which can lead to infection. Small, hard foods like nuts and seeds should be avoided. You should also watch out for anything spicy or acidic, which can irritate the affected area during healing.

Drinking through a straw is also something to avoid. The suction created can disturb the site and cause bleeding to start again.

In general, soft foods are the best choice during recovery. Soup, yogurt, mashed potatoes, apple sauce, and other similar foods minimize the risk of damage to the affected area. You can add more foods after the initial healing stage, but it’s still best to avoid tough foods that require difficult chewing.

Smooth Wisdom Teeth Removal from a Board-Certified Oral Surgeon

The team at Dental Implants & Periodontal Health of Rochester uses the most advanced techniques and technologies to help your wisdom teeth removal recovery go as smoothly as possible. Our board-certified oral surgeon is experienced in treating both simple and complex cases to deliver exceptional patient outcomes. Schedule your appointment today to see if it’s time for your wisdom teeth removal. Give us a call at 585-685-2005.



[1] https://crest.com/en-us/oral-care-tips/wisdom-teeth/wisdom-teeth-removal-extraction-surgery


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