young woman in exam chair talking with dentist

What to Expect After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

DF7 Tooth Extraction, Wisdom Teeth

Many people are so worried about their wisdom tooth extraction that they don't even consider what will happen after the procedure. The days following wisdom tooth removal are crucial, so knowing what to expect will help you plan. Here's what you should know.

Aftercare Basics

You'll experience swelling right after the extraction, and as the anesthesia wears off, you'll start to feel discomfort as well. There will also be some bleeding from the surgical sites. If you had IV or conscious oral sedation for your wisdom tooth extraction, you'll need someone to bring you home after the procedure because you'll be a little groggy and disoriented.

You won't be able to return to work or school the day of the procedure; with a non-surgical extraction, plan on taking two or three days off, and around a week if your wisdom teeth are completely or partially impacted.

We'll give you gauze to bite down on after your surgery to address any bleeding. The bleeding should stop by the time you get home, and you can remove the gauze at that time. You can help reduce swelling by applying an ice pack to your face for 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off. Spend the day in bed or on the sofa––it's a great time to binge watch your favorite Netflix series.

You'll feel better and better over the next few days, and before you know it, you’ll be back to normal. Follow these guidelines during your recovery:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Avoid using a straw for at least 24 hours after surgery.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Do not engage in any strenuous activity.
  • Avoid brushing near the surgical site; instead, rinse the area with salt water to disinfect it.

Contact us immediately if your pain worsens in the days and weeks after your surgery, or if you have symptoms of infection, such as fever, bleeding, or prolonged swelling.

Managing Pain

The amount of pain you feel after surgery varies depending on whether your teeth were completely erupted, partially erupted, or impacted. Patients with wisdom teeth that are impacted experience the most pain since the surgery to remove them is more difficult and often requires cutting through the jaw bone to remove the teeth. It's important that you follow our aftercare guidelines to the letter and take any pain relievers as directed.

Cold compresses, healthy soft foods, and plenty of rest are the best things you can do to help your body heal.

What to Eat After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

When you get home from surgery, you may only want to sleep, but it's vital to keep hydrated. Drink water during the day and resume eating when you feel ready. Begin with soft foods that require little or no chewing. Comfort foods such as mashed potatoes, soup, and applesauce are excellent choices, as is a nutritious smoothie––just don't drink it through a straw!

Hot foods, hard nuts and seeds, crusty bread, and anything else that requires a lot of chewing can aggravate jaw pain.

Schedule Your Wisdom Tooth Extraction

If you need to get your wisdom teeth out, contact us today at 505-821-2111 to schedule an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Steel.