Wisdom teeth removal is a very common procedure, but it’s important to make sure you know what to do – and what not to do – as you recover.
These tips can help you prepare so you’ll have the best chance of an easy, trouble-free recovery:
Talk to your dentist or oral surgeon and support staff about what to expect after your wisdom teeth removal. It’s important to follow their advice, and they’ll have knowledge or your particular circumstances and needs.
Make sure you have someone to drive you home from your procedure. You may also want to have them pick up your pain medication on the way home and stay with you for a while. Make sure that they also understand your instructions from your dentist or oral surgeon’s office.
Rest for the remainder of the day. You can usually go back to some of your normal activities the next day, but avoid strenuous activity, heavy lifting, or exercise that could dislodge the blood clot from its socket.
You’ll have gauze to gently bite down on. Do this periodically, and replace the pad when it gets soaked with blood. Bleeding should stop within 24 hours.
Use an ice pack on the outside of your cheek for 15 to 20 minutes at a time if needed for the first day. Moist heat from a washcloth wet with warm water can also be used for the second or third day.
Get plenty of rest, and elevate your head with pillows.
Avoid accidentally biting the inside of your cheek or lip. This can be easy to do when it’s still numb. Also avoid rubbing the area with your tongue.
Drink plenty of water after your surgery. Don’t drink hot beverages or those with alcohol or caffeine in them for 24 hours. You’ll also want to avoid using a straw for at least a week so you don’t dislodge the blood clot.
Eat soft foods for the first 24 hours. Applesauce, pudding, yogurt, or thin soup are good choices. While you’re still healing, avoid foods that are very chewy, hard, or spicy. For the next day or two, you may want to stick with soft foods like pasta or scrambled eggs.
Don’t smoke for at least 24 hours, and if you chew tobacco, don’t use it for at least a week.
Don’t brush your teeth or rinse your mouth for the first 24 hours. After a day, gently rinse with a warm salt water mixture made with about a half a teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of water. Do this several times a day, particularly after eating or drinking. This can help reduce swelling and pain.
If you had stitches that need to be removed, make a follow-up appointment to have this done.
Notify your dentist or oral surgeon if you have any concerns about your recovery after your wisdom teeth removal. Make sure to call if you have swelling that gets worse after two or three days, a fever, bleeding after 24 hours, or severe pain that isn’t helped by medication. Also call if you have pus or oozing from the socket or numbness that doesn't go away.