If you need to have your wisdom teeth extracted, you’re probably nervous about the procedure itself, but you might worry even more about the recovery—after all, just about everyone has a story to share about their cheeks swelling up or having applesauce for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for days after the surgery. Follow our post-surgical instructions and you might be surprised that the recovery isn’t quite as bad as you had anticipated. Here’s what you can expect.
Recovery Time After Wisdom Tooth Extraction
How long does it take to recover from a wisdom tooth extraction? This is one of the most common questions patients have about the procedure, as they need to plan for time off of work or school.
The recovery time depends on whether or not your wisdom teeth are impacted. A simple extraction, which involves loosening a fully erupted wisdom tooth from the jawbone and removing it with forceps, has an easier recovery time than an extraction involving an impacted tooth, which requires incisions in the gum and possible removal of bone to access the tooth. If all four of your wisdom teeth are impacted, your recovery will be more uncomfortable than if you only had one impacted wisdom tooth.
A simple extraction can have a recovery time of three to four days, while an extraction involving impacted teeth can require a full week of recovery at home. You may continue to have some degree of pain and swelling for another week after that, although you should be able to return to all of your normal activities.
What to Expect During Your Wisdom Tooth Extraction Recovery
To ensure that your recovery goes as smoothly as possible, with minimal pain, it’s important to follow our aftercare instructions to the letter. Here are some of the most important points:
- Keep yourself comfortable by using your pain medications as directed. Don’t try to tough it out by skipping your medications; this can impede your recovery by making it hard for you to get the rest you need.
- Make sure the extraction site is clean. The day after surgery, you will need to begin saltwater rinses and you also can start brushing your teeth again. We may give you an irrigating syringe to use at the surgical site too. Keeping your mouth clean reduces the risk of infection after surgery.
- Take it slow when it comes to your diet. You’ll need to eat soft foods for a full week, then gradually introduce other foods back into your diet, avoiding anything that is hard, crunchy, or chewy until your gums and jaw have healed.
- Plan on resting. With a week off of work or school, it might seem like the perfect opportunity to catch up on cleaning or your at-home workouts, but vigorous activity can increase swelling, pain, and bleeding.
After about the third day post-surgery, you should start to notice that you feel better with each passing day, with less swelling and pain. If the opposite occurs and you’re feeling worse as time goes on, it’s a sign that you may have an infection or other complications. Contact us right away so we can evaluate your symptoms.
Learn More About Wisdom Tooth Extraction
If you need to have one or more wisdom teeth extracted, call us today at 505-821-2111 to schedule an appointment for a consultation.