It is typical to expect 10-14 days to completely recover from having your wisdom teeth extracted. While the majority of any discomfort or swelling will occur in the first few days following the procedure, there may still be some long-term recovery that needs to occur depending on your situation.
Short Term Wisdom Teeth Removal Recovery:
- Proper cleansing is essential when it comes to the surgical site healing. Your dentist may give you a syringe to use in order to irrigate the surgical site and keep it clean. Typically this will not be used for the first day or two, until a blood clot has formed.
- Rinsing with warm salt water and taking care to not disrupt the surgical site with a toothbrush will help the extraction area heal more quickly and prevent creation of dry socket.
- Follow all of your home care instructions. Smoking or drinking through a straw can prevent adequate healing, and is likely to cause a very painful condition known as dry socket, which may take weeks to resolve. The pressure from the straw can cause the blood clot to dislodge, while smoking may prevent it from forming at all in the first place. If you are a woman that takes oral contraceptive medication you may be at an increased risk to develop a dry socket.
- Expect bleeding during the first 24 hours until a blood clot has formed. Leave your gauze in place unless it has become completely saturated with blood. Apply firm pressure to the area to encourage clotting. Once 24 hours has lapsed, you may want to bite down on a tea bag, as the ingredients can encourage blood clotting and healing of the site.
- Take medications as directed to alleviate your symptoms. Pain medication and an anti- inflammatory are usually prescribed. Some patients that have had joint replacements or an artificial heart valve may also need to take an antibiotic to prevent a systemic infection.
- It may be difficult to open the mouth when you are experiencing wisdom teeth removal recovery. Typically this will improve after 10-14 days.
- If sutures are not of the dissolvable variety, you will need to see your dentist for their removal at a follow-up appointment.
Long Term Wisdom Teeth Removal Recovery:
There are some possible long-term effects that may occur during your wisdom tooth removal recovery. Here are some things to look for and discuss with your doctor if they continue to exist several weeks after your procedure:
- Bone fragments
- Tooth fragments
- Jaw pain or fracture
- Dry socket
- Damage to surrounding teeth or restorations
- Prolonged soreness or swelling
If something doesn’t seem to be healing quite right, or you experience some of these symptoms weeks after your extraction, then you ought to see your dentist for a follow up appointment. In very rare cases a person may experience fracture of the jaw or the teeth near the extraction site. Though this is not common, it is a major concern should it happen. Proper steps will need to be taken to restore the effective teeth and to correct a fracture in the jawbone so that normal functions can be restored.
Typically you should be able to return back to your normal routine after a week into your wisdom teeth removal. This includes eating normal foods (just avoid harder foods around the extraction site for a while). For the best possible wisdom teeth removal recovery, stock up on everything you need before your appointment: soft foods, pain medication and some good reading material for when you are resting up on the sofa! You might find you feel best if you rest with your head elevated. Be sure to keep plenty of water handy as well as your medication.