Most people’s mouths are only large enough to comfortably fit 28 teeth. Unfortunately, for some people around the age of 15 or 16, four extra teeth try to grow in. If this has happened to you, a surgical procedure known as wisdom teeth removal will be recommended.
Given that wisdom teeth removal is a surgical procedure, you will need to follow specific post-procedure instructions to help you recover. Failure to follow the post-procedure instructions could delay your recovery, or cause you to experience additional health problems.
To help prepare you for an upcoming wisdom teeth removal procedure, we have created a comprehensive recovery guide. The recovery guide will outline how long it will take to recover, and what you can or can’t do during your recovery period.
Expected Recovery Time After Wisdom Tooth Removal
It is difficult to determine exactly how long it will take to recover after wisdom teeth removal because so many different factors influence your recovery time. Everything from the size and position of the teeth removed, to your current health and difficulty of the procedure will determine your recovery time.
On average it will take approximately a week to two weeks to fully recover from wisdom teeth removal. The first week is critical to your recovery, while the second week tends to involve the gradual recovery of various symptoms such as bruising, swelling, and neck or jaw stiffness.
Important Instructions to Follow 24 to 72 Hours After Wisdom Teeth Removal
It is critical that you follow the post-procedure instructions in the first 24 to 72 hours after wisdom teeth removal. The important instructions you need to follow in the 24 to 72 hours after wisdom teeth removal often include:
- No drinking hot drinks. Make sure all drinks you do consume are room temperature
- Avoid foods that are extremely chewy, as this requires you to move your jaw which can dislodge the blood clot
- Avoid brushing near the extraction site
- Do not rinse your mouth out
- Do not spit
- Avoid any activity that involves a sucking motion such as drinking alcohol, sipping on straws, and smoking
Failing to follow instructions during this time period can cause the blood clots at the surgical site to dislodge. When a blood clot dislodges, it can cause an extremely painful condition known as dry sockets.
If dry sockets occur, you will need to return to your oral surgeon for additional treatment.
What You Need to Do Immediately After Wisdom Teeth Removal
Recovery from wisdom teeth extraction will be slow. However, there are a few things you can do to help speed up your healing.
Immediately after your wisdom teeth removal procedure, make sure to do the following:
- Bite down on soft gauze to help encourage the bleeding to stop. Make sure you gently bite down and don’t clamp your jaw.
- Apply an ice pack to the outside area of the face. The ice will help reduce swelling and minimize pain. Ice should be applied every 15 minutes. Do not apply the ice directly to the skin. Wrap it up in a towel.
- Avoid engaging in strenuous activities for several days. These activities include exercising, working, and performing basic household chores.
- Follow your oral surgeon’s instructions for how to properly handle any pain with medication. Some surgeons suggest over-the-counter pain medications while others may prescribe prescription pain medicine.
Additional Instructions to Help with the Recovery from Wisdom Teeth Removal
After the first 72 hours, you will be able to slowly start to resume your regular activities. However, you will still be healing from your recent oral surgery so it is important that you follow instructions carefully to help you fully heal.
Additional instructions that will help with your recovery from wisdom teeth removal include:
- Use the antiseptic mouth rinse your surgeon prescribed. Make sure to wait 24 to 48 hours after your procedure to start rinsing.
- Gently rinse your mouth with salt water to remove any food particles or sugars that accumulate in your mouth. Salt water will also help reduce pain.
- Prop your head up when you are sleeping. This will help reduce pressure to the mouth and make you feel more comfortable.
If you encounter any questions or concerns while recovering from your recent wisdom teeth removal procedure, contact Sunrise Facial and Oral Surgery in the Melbourne, FL, and Rockledge, FL. Dr. Schmid is a respected expert who practices a full scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery.