FAST Recovery After Wisdom Tooth Surgery [6 Tips From The Dentist]

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wisdom tooth surgery

If you’re reading this because you’re preparing for wisdom tooth surgery, you may have already heard some horror stories about liquid diets, excruciating pain, dry socket, or other complications.

But I want to put your mind at ease.

Millions of wisdom teeth are extracted every year without incident. And by following some simple strategies, you can speed up your post-surgery recovery and feel more comfortable during the process.

When wisdom teeth come in, they can cause a host of complications, including impaction, infection, and even cancer. And when these issues emerge, extracting the wisdom teeth may be the best solution—even if the idea of having teeth surgically removed is less than appealing.

So in the very likely scenario that you or a loved one need to have wisdom tooth surgery, the best thing to do is to prepare for recovery in advance.

In this article, I’ll share:

  • What happens when you have your wisdom teeth extracted
  • Easy tips for making recovery quicker and more comfortable
  • Answers to frequently asked questions about wisdom teeth and their removal

So let’s get started!

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What happens during wisdom teeth surgery

There are two main types of wisdom tooth surgery, and the extraction process is different in each one.

A simple extraction is often used for wisdom teeth that have already erupted through the gum line. During this type of surgery, the patient is given a numbing agent, and perhaps a form of sedation, so that he’s not fully aware during the procedure.

Once the patient has been numbed and sedated, the dentist will grip the tooth with forceps and rock it back and forth in order to loosen the tooth from the jaw before removing it completely.

The second type of extraction is referred to as impacted wisdom tooth surgery. It is performed before the wisdom teeth have erupted through the gums and are perhaps still embedded in the jawbone.

During this procedure, the patient will typically receive some form of general anesthesia (that is, anesthesia that affects the entire body and triggers a partial loss of consciousness) on top of local anesthesia near the extraction site. The surgeon will then cut away any gum or bone tissue that’s covering the tooth before releasing it.

In some cases, the dentist or surgeon may also use stitches during the procedure to facilitate the healing process and allow the body to create a blood clot that will protect the gum tissue and bones as they heal. In both extraction scenarios, however, the delicate tissue of the mouth is affected, which will most certainly lead to pain and swelling.

Once the extraction is complete, your dentist or oral surgeon will provide information on how to best care for your mouth while you recover. It’s important to read these instructions closely and follow them carefully. The guidelines are designed to make your recovery as smooth as possible and to prevent any further complications.

In addition to the information your dentist provides, here are some other ways to make your wisdom teeth surgery recovery a little faster and, hopefully, less painful.

6 tips for wisdom tooth surgery recovery

1. Prevent dry socket

Once your wisdom teeth extraction is complete, your body will immediately begin the work of healing itself. This includes forming a blood clot over the extraction site to protect the tissue and bone underneath—think of it like a scab that protects skin wounds as they heal.

Keeping this blood clot in place is very important. If it is dislodged for any reason, it can cause tremendous pain once the underlying bone is exposed. This condition is called dry socket, and it can be caused by seemingly harmless activities like sipping through a straw or swishing with mouthwash.

Your dentist will give you gauze to bite down on right after the surgery. When it’s time to replace it, failing to soak the new gauze in water before putting it in your mouth can also lead to dry socket, as the gauze can stick to the clot and pull it out.

Read my article on how to prevent and heal dry socket, and check out the video below for more info on this painful, but preventable, condition.

2. Keep your head elevated for the first three days

When you sleep, keep your head elevated with lots of pillows so your upper body is close to a 45-degree angle. This can help you recover faster from wisdom tooth surgery because blood vessel tone and blood volume near the wound increase when you’re lying flat, which can make the wound throb. Additionally, keeping your head elevated above your feet can help reduce swelling.

Using an airline pillow is an easy and effective way to keep your head comfortably elevated when you’re in an upright position.

3. Ice the area of the cheek closest to the extraction site for the first day

Cold can help reduce swelling and inflammation, so I recommend applying ice to the area close to the extraction. Wrap the ice in a cloth to protect from ice burns, and only ice the area for about 20 minutes at a time. You can also purchase a head wrap that will give you a hands-free way to keep your jaw iced.

A word of caution, though: Never apply heat to this area. Heat can increase blood flow to the area which, as mentioned, will increase pain and swelling.

4. Don’t let your mouth dry out

Your mouth will probably feel quite sore after wisdom tooth surgery, and depending on how tender you are, you may be tempted to breathe through your mouth. Avoid it if possible, though, as this can dry your mouth out. Dryness can disrupt the pH balance of your mouth, which can allow cavity-causing bacteria to proliferate, increasing the chance of infection.

If you must breathe through your mouth, use an oral cavity moisturizer like Biotene gel to help keep your mouth healthy while you recover.

5. Massage your masseter muscle on both sides of your mouth

During wisdom tooth surgery, your mouth is held wide open for an extended period of time, which can contribute to myofacial pain and cramped or sore muscles. The masseter, which is one of the muscles in your jaw that helps you chew, is particularly prone to soreness.

Massaging this area post-surgery will help you recover faster because it releases some of the unnecessary tension that your jaw may be holding onto. To find this muscle and know where to massage, place your fingers just before the opening of each ear. Massage gently for a few minutes at a time.

6. Drink ice-cold coconut water until you’re able to eat soft foods

Not being able to eat normally is one of the unpleasant side effects of wisdom tooth surgery, but coconut water can help you stay hydrated and satiated during recovery.

Coconut water helps to keep blood sugar stable and replenish electrolytes while you’re unable to eat solid foods. Having these elements in balance allows your body to focus more of its attention on healing from wisdom teeth surgery.

Additionally, drinking your coconut water at a very cold temperature can soothe any lingering inflammation.

If you want to reap the benefits of coconut water but don’t want to drink it straight, try whipping up a smoothie with lots of greens and healthy fats, and use coconut water as the liquid. I’d also recommend adding a dash or two of turmeric to further fight inflammation and speed recovery.

Wisdom tooth surgery FAQs

While every patient’s wisdom tooth surgery experience is different, there are some common questions that are applicable in most cases. Here’s a look at some of them, along with my responses, to help you gain an even better understanding of the wisdom tooth surgery recovery process.

How long is wisdom teeth surgery?

It depends on your dentist and your particular case, but typically the surgery takes no more than an hour and a half.

What are my anesthesia options?

Your anesthesia options will depend on the level of complication of the extraction, as well as what your dentist or oral surgeon offers.

An injected, local anesthetic is used to numb the mouth, and is often paired with sedation (a pill that relaxes you and makes you drowsy) and/or nitrous oxide (also called laughing gas), which is also relaxing.

IV sedation is also paired with local anesthetic, as IV sedation doesn’t provide any pain relief, but it will allow you to respond to your dentist’s verbal cues while keeping you relaxed.

General anesthesia is also an option. It is typically used for more complicated extractions and is often paired with other medicines that will make you completely unconscious. This will be done in a hospital environment.

What is a bone graft, and do I need to have one after extraction?

A bone graft is a procedure that is typically done after an extraction, in order to rebuild the bone that is left behind after a tooth is removed. When an implant is planned, a bone graft will provide the foundation for the implant to be screwed into.

When a wisdom tooth is removed, it is not replaced by an implant. However, I still recommend a bone graft to provide support for the tooth right next to the extraction site.

If, for example, you have an upper wisdom tooth removed, a bone graft can prevent rearward deflection (and eventual shifting) of the nearest molar when you bite down on it.

Some dentists will argue that bone grafts are a waste of time and money, especially following wisdom tooth surgery. But I still think it’s important to have a discussion about whether a bone graft is right for you.

How long does the bleeding last after surgery?

Bleeding should stop within four hours. If it doesn’t, contact your dentist or surgeon. If you see some blood-tinged saliva, that’s ok. Thick, clotted blood warrants a call to your surgeon.

How long does the pain last after surgery?

Most swelling should subside within two to three days. Jaw stiffness and soreness should subside within a week or so of surgery, and any bruising should be gone within about two weeks. Typically bone pain after surgery peaks at the 72-hour mark and then begins to subside.

What is the average, total recovery time?

For most cases, it takes about two to four days to get to a point that recovery is no longer affecting your daily life (e.g., throbbing pain, inability to eat, etc.). More severe cases may take up to a week. However, it takes a month or more for your mouth to fully heal after surgery, so you’ll want to stay on top of your oral hygiene to prevent infection or discomfort.

How much does wisdom teeth surgery cost?

The price varies based on how many teeth are being removed and how simple or complicated the procedure is, as well as how much your insurance will cover. According to Angie’s List, a simple, single wisdom tooth removal typically costs between $75 to $200. The removal of all four wisdom teeth averages $300 to $800, total.

Impacted teeth are more expensive to extract, costing between $225 and $600 per tooth, and general anesthesia can add an additional cost of $250 or more. If you have dental benefits, this surgery falls in the 80%-coverage category.

Does the body go through changes after teeth extractions?

I, along with many of my patients, have experienced a slight narrowing of the face after wisdom teeth extraction. I inform my patients of this before the procedure, while also advising on the obvious risks like infection, nerve damage, and broken jaw. The good news is that this narrowing is usually considered an aesthetic improvement by patients.

Many people find that their jaw structure and facial features are more defined after wisdom teeth surgery. In fact, some professional models have their wisdom teeth removed to give them the look of having higher cheekbones. The danger here, of course, is that people have teeth taken out for aesthetic reasons, and not health reasons. Of course, I do not recommend this.

What are the most common complications related to wisdom teeth extractions?

Nerve injuries during extraction, which can cause pain or numbness, are a somewhat common complication and can affect between 0.4 percent and 8.4 percent of patients. The injury can be temporary or permanent but usually resolves itself without treatment.

Infection is another common side effect, although if there’s concern that an infection may be possible, many dentists will prescribe antibiotics.

Regarding recovery from wisdom teeth surgery, the development of dry socket is one of the most common complications. Again, this occurs when the protective blood clot that fills the hole that the extracted tooth left behind is dislodged.

Dry socket happens in about five percent of patients and can be particularly painful because the nerve endings of the bone are exposed. However, it is treatable using medicated gauze or a paste that helps protect the bone from exposure while it heals.

What are signs that I need to go back and see my dentist following extraction?

If you experience any of the following after wisdom teeth surgery, I recommend contacting your dentist promptly:

  • Severe bleeding that doesn’t subside within four hours post-extraction
  • Throbbing pain that doesn’t subside with medication
  • Oozing pus
  • Increased swelling
  • Fever and chills
  • Pain that spikes 48 hours after extraction
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

Final thoughts on wisdom tooth surgery

Wisdom teeth surgery is a common and relatively safe procedure. If you follow your dentist or surgeon’s detailed advice and consider some of the above tips—including preventing dry socket, keeping your head elevated, and stocking up on coconut water—you’ll be well on your way to healing in no time.

Read Next: Wisdom Teeth Removal: Know Before You Go

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Leave a Comment

  1. Thank you. I’m having mine taken out on Tuesday and the oral surgeon did not tell me any of this. Great post-op advice!

  2. Wanda-sorry, I had a hiccup!All the best to you and Cheers with our fav Cherry Coke, lolSusie-I know ;D They raelly are amazing~ Same to you!Tamara-I hope yours was amazing :DJanet-YOU are so sweet! I wish you would write a book 😀 ATB 2 UThank you!Kim-Blessings to you! Hope you had a wonderful time in NYCSherry-I know right! I hope you had a wonderful season~ :DGrace-I hope you and yours made wonderful memories~Dezzy-I know your home smelled amazing! YOU are a talented baker ;DI know I have missed a lot…I needed time away~ I hope you had a very Merry! :DBossy Betty-Thank you! Yes, we are glad this is behind us~ I hope you had a wonderful season :DMary-Thank you for all you do and I hope your holidays were warm n’ bright!Mary Ann-Thank you! I look forward to the New Year and hope you and yours had a wonderful time~ 😀

  3. Tuesday Dec 2nd, I had my lower right wisdom tooth out. It was impacted with the roots near the nerve that traverses the jaw line, and the top pressed side ways into my next molar. I had dry socket starting on the 5th. Had it filled with medicated gauze for one day (7th-8th). On the 12th I had the idiotic idea that i should see how much it still hurts if i let the pain meds wear off completely…. BAD IDEA! On the 13th, I finally went out and bought clove oil (a god send). It is now the 16th and the gum looks healthy. As long as i use the clove oil every 4 hours there is little-no pain, but if I wait too long it’s back. I keep waking up in pain every night. Will the pain ever stop? I am so tired.

    • bradley groves says:

      How did u get dry socket

      • Hi Bradley,

        You get a dry socket from where the hole that is left in your gums from there the tooth was extracted. When a tooth is pulled out, a blood clot forms over the area to act as a natural aid in protecting the exposed bone underneath the hole. If that blood clot gets removed, that’s when a dry socket occurs. This usually happens from someone sucking in with a straw too much, or swishing too hard… anything to dislodge the clot. Exposed bone (dry sockets) are probably one of the most painful things and can be treated with witch hazel and oil of cloves. I use to work as a oral surgeon asst. so this was the common practice for this sort of problem. I hope this helps.~

  4. Hi there, I had my two lower, impacted wisdom teeth and top right removed on Dec 11th and have been having complications since. I was HORRIBLY swollen and in pain from the second day and that didn’t let up until very recently. I had an infection in the right lower and ended up getting dry socket in both, which I have been getting treatment for with medicated packing for a little over a week.

    The right seems to be doing much much better (getting the packing out today), but the left one hasn’t really improved much. The slightest disturbance feels like the gum is being ripped apart, and last night I looked at my mouth and there is weird white stuff on top of the gum. Is this an infection? Even with the packing in there? I thought the dry socket was healing since the pain has slowly gone away, but it’s back to feeling throbby and dull aches.

    I’m cleaning and rinsing as I was advised and my oral surgeon seems very nonchalant about everything. What should I look out for? What is this white stuff? Should I get any other procedures done (xray? scraping away dead tissue?) any help would be appreciated! I’m going crazy and have already lost 9 lbs in two weeks.

    Thanks! 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      White stuff is an ulcer I just asked my doctor yesterday. He said its just part of the healing process

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  6. Dr. M. Shoaib Khan says:

    You have mentioned great information on how to recover from wisdom teeth surgery faster in your blog. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    • Yeah, that’s the tictke, sir or ma’am

    • Michelle Lopez says:

      Is it Norman to get a mouth sore after wisdom teeth removal?

  7. Aspen Haas says:

    That you! You are my hero!!! My mouth hurts so much.

  8. Jeff Madison says:

    I appreciate your tip on keeping your head elevated for the first three days after an oral surgery. It seems that lying flat would be painful as it could make the wound throb. My daughter got her wisdom teeth out recently and her mouth has been hurting. Maybe she should try sleeping with her head elevated.

  9. Daria Miller says:

    Yesterday I had my wisdom tooth extraction and the surgery was quiet nice but then in 3-4 hours I noticed a horrible swelling and found out that I am unable to open my mouth! Then this bleeding, I feel my blood always, though I am trying to use ice-packets… Wish me a happy recovery

    • good morning Daria
      I had all 4 of mine this past tues and the 3rd and 4th day were the worst. I slept elevated with 3 pillows and on my back. I luckily did not have excess bleeding after surgery. I kept a steady flow of ice chips melting in my mouth and frozen bags of peas on my face. I stayed on the pain meds for the first 4 days then stopped as I wanted to keep a few in case pain returned this week when I return to work so I could sleep. I have been rinsing with warm salt water and eating only soft food like yogurt and finally mashed potatoes, ice cream. I think, I hope I am past the pain point and my clots are healing. I did try to brush my front teeth as the process of teeth removal has caused horrible bad breath and my wife compared me to Godzilla,,,nice. I hope by monday/tues you’ll be feeling better and your mouth will be healing. I am 57 and would not recommend this as well spent vacation time unless you had no choice, which I did not. I certainly hope you feel better. hang in there.

  10. Hi there, i got my upper x2 and lower x1 wisdom teeth removed on feb 26 and im going on week three of still pain. Now its not the type that makes a person want to bash their head in but its enough to notice.ive been doing salt water rinse three times a day,drinking anywhere from 32 oz water to maybe 48 and started eating solids on day 3 or 4 after getting them removed. This isnt the first time getting them removed however did get an infection.

  11. economist says:

    Hi Docter
    First of all i want to thank you for creating this forum. So people really in need of information can have access to it.
    The dentist extraced one of my wisdom teeth. The blood was stoped after 3 hours of extraction. but till i am writing this i felt two time like suddenly my body gets cool, sweating, and my eyes becomes dark. I feel that may be my heartbeat is low. i do not know why is this. My next apointment is on monday. so it will be great if i knew some good advices to follow till that. also my docter did not told me when to start brushing.

  12. Aria Wellington says:

    I have never heard of drinking coconut water, but I can see how that would be soothing to those areas! My sister is getting oral surgery for her wisdom teeth in a few weeks and she is going to be missing some school. It will be right before finals so we want to get her back on her feet as soon as possible. I think that these tips will be really helpful to us, thank you so much for sharing them!

  13. I had my lower two wisdom teeth removed yesterday morning. I am in no pain, and no swelling. I know I am super lucky but besides this why do some folks have such horrible experiences and some have none.

  14. I had all four of my impacted wisdom teeth removed on the 20th and the first 2 days were very uncomfortable but bare-able. They told me to keep my head elevated in my sleep for only the first two days, so on the third day (22nd) I tried to sleep normally and I woke up the next morning to find my face more swollen than when I first got to the surgery. I kept an ice pack on it as much as possible, but only for 30 minutes at a time or it would get too cold. They gave me strong pain killers that were too strong for my body so I went out and bought Ibuprofen (200 mg) and took 3 of those every 6 hours for the first 3 days, then 2 capsules every 6 hours after that. Cold water with lots of ice helps a lot if your gums swell badly, just make sure to not accidentally chew the ice out of habit (I made this mistake). Try to avoid hot foods for the first week, even warm stuff can irritate the stitches. It’s now the 25th and I got the procedure done on the 20th, so it’s the 5th day and I can chew soft things, even bread but it takes me awhile to chew it. Popsicle’s help to reduce swelling and if you do brush your teeth within the first 3 days, place a finger inside your cheek and pull VERY gently while looking into the mirror so you can see what you’re doing. Don’t go too far back or you’ll reach your stitches and the toothbrush can rub it enough to make it bleed. Rinse your mouth carefully with cool water, I don’t suggest to use mouth wash until the stitches are gone. Hope everyone is safe out there!

  15. I just recently got my lower left wisdom tooth removed and i am still in pain. My cheek inside is swollen and it hurts a lot. Any tips on how i can get rid of the swollen and pain. Its been a week and im almost going back to the dentist to get another one remove.

  16. Jennifer Owen says:

    I got my lower left wisdom tooth removed on May 3rd and I am still having a lot of pain in my jaw. I’ve been taking Norco, Tylenol, and Advil and I will have brief periods of feeling okay, but mostly my jaw is really sore and sometimes I have a sore throat. I went back to the dentist yesterday and he said I don’t have a dry socket, but since he had difficulty getting the tooth out and because of my age (43), it’s just going to take longer to heal. I’ve noticed no improvement in the pain level for the past five days. My doctor switched me to Tramadol but I haven’t taken it yet. I’m hoping that will work a little better than the Norco. Other than that and using a heat pack he hasn’t had much advice for me. I’m starting to feel like removal was a bad idea and wishing I’d had a better idea of how bad it would be before I had the procedure.

    • Hi Jennifer – did you ever find relief? I just had my lower left removed Friday, and am still feeling enough pain that 2 Advils isn’t taking care of. The Norco makes me nauseous and dizzy, so I asked for 800mg ibuprofen instead to take the edge off. I’m asking because our situations – age, tooth extracted, medicines prescribed – are so similar.

      • Jennifer Owen says:

        I did finally get some relief. It took about a week and a half for me to feel good enough to go back to work. I found Tramadol to be very helpful, though I still took Advil and Tylenol along with it. Taking the meds before the pain started was really important. Recovering from the pain is much harder than maintaining some level of comfort by taking regularly scheduled doses. Good luck with healing. I hope it’s a little easier for you than it was for me.

    • kim swatsworth says:

      I had my lower wisdom tooth pulled last Friday I am still in a lot of pain It hurts to open up and eat and chew? it hurts from back of jaw up to ear is this normal I really think dentist hurt my jaw I want to be normal again anything I can do to help this.

    • Please i had the same as yours but mine i cant open my mouth wide and it is up to a week. What should i do?

      • Mark Burhenne, DDS says:

        Hi there, Ify.
        It sounds like it’s time to go back to your dentist to reexamine. If you don’t get any answers, seek a second opinion.
        Best wishes,
        Dr. B

  17. Im so scare already! !! Tomorrow is my “wisdom teeth “remove for first time! !! Can you still working after that? “(

    • I recommend to take at least 3 days off apparently my dentist told me i got a dry socket because i might had overworked my self but everyone is different. I still recommend to have some days off you will be in pain after and you might get swollen cheeks as well.

    • Anonymous says:

      No take at least 4 days off for recovery . lots of cold packs .

  18. I had my wisdom teeth out on Monday and today on my lower left hurts its throbbing and painful what do I do

  19. I had one impacted wisdom tooth removed last Friday and there is so much swelling and pain also.
    The corner of my mouth got very injured and it developed an infection. It is recommended to take anti-biotic after complicated wisdom tooth extraction.

    • How long dose it take to have no paine ?? I had them taken out the 17th of this may still hurting….

  20. I had all 4 of mine cut out on Thursday and my face is still swollen…they hurt so bad so I’m praying that some of these tips help with my pain…thank you so much!!!!!

    • How long dose it take to have no paine I had mine done on the 17 th of this month

  21. Belinda Groveau says:

    I only had 3 wisdom teeth that came in and removed May 5th, my only lower right side is by far the worst recovery. I didn’t have dry scocket but I had medicated gauze in the hole for 4 days at a time. Starting on 5th day after surgery. On the 9th day after I had new medicated gauze put in and finally today day 12, gauze is out. Feels better, a little sore I guess that’s bound to happen. I just want to move forward. I followed the oral care sheet giving to me. Warm salt water is your bff. Oh and if you can find this nutritional therapeutic drink called JUVEN on amazon it helps heal skin wounds get it. I used tramadol for pain. Hope you all recover quickly!

  22. Dear Doctor,

    I am suffering from last gum pain i would like to share you panoramic xray photo to get your advice kindly provide me email ID.

    • Thanks for sharing these amazing tips. Following these tips will help patients to get recovery in an easy way. I would like to add one more tip here. A patient should not use tobacco, smoking after the surgery as these activities generates negative pressure. It can dislodge the clot and start bleeding again.

  23. Does the body go through changes after teeth extractions

  24. I had my lower left wisdom tooth extracted yesterday.
    I was sedated for it.
    Today I have taken no pain relief and have a slight dull ache, nothing more.
    I slept very upright and plan to tonight too.
    I have had no blood (so far) in my mouth and am being careful eating & drinking. I’ve gently bathed my mouth in warm salt water three times today, planning the same tomorrow.

    I just wanted to comment that I’m doing fine and optimistic I’ll be healed up sooner rather than later.. Perhaps I’m lucky, perhaps people are affected differently. Either way, if your reading this and scared of your procedure, stay positive, you might be lucky too 🙂

  25. I am going to have 2 taken out 4 days later with one of them is impacted. I am so afraid of the procedure and the pain that comes with it after the procedure. 🙁

  26. Hi..I had my tooth removed (lower far left) its been 10 days still the hole in my gum is causing pain in jaw and lower area I don’t know if its dry socket or just it normal..? Or I should see a doc. Pls help me.

  27. Sachin, did the doc stitch up yr gum to close the socket hole? I have done mine 10 hours ago n still tasting bit of blood in my mouth now. Maybe blood has not clot completely. Feeling bit of pain n still on schedule on all the pain killers n antibiotics n anti-inflammation given to me. Taking ibuprofen for pain.
    If u still feel pain after 10 days, I suggest you see your dentist again. From what I gathered, pain last at most up to a week.

  28. Mary Johnson says:

    Hey Dr. Mark,

    Great Post!!

    Patients who undergo wisdom teeth removal may expect some discomfort and pain during recovery. Individuals can follow a few post-surgery tips to ensure a fast, smooth recovery with minimal pain.
    Bleeding at the extraction site can be controlled with gauze pads or even tea bags. Achieve long-term recovery by resting as much as possible and avoiding strenuous exercise and work.

    Speed up the mouth’s healing process with the use of ice packs and diluted mouthwashes, as well as avoiding certain activities such as spitting, smoking, and talking. Medications and antibiotics should be taken as prescribed to prevent complications.

    Warm Regards
    Mary Johnson

  29. I got my lower left, taken out and it was an insticcive surgery, had to cut in to the bone and tooth, for removal, I pretty much keep crashing pack on it 24/7 since I cannot eat or take pain medicine, due to constant vomiting and dizziness! Can’t even keep water down. They used lidocaine and I got nitro oxide, neither I’ve used before, I’ve tried calling my dentist but no response all day. I was already doing all these recovery methods, the pain for most isn’t as bad as the vomiting and dizziness. I immediately hacked up most of my stitches, and the swelling is a bit bothersome! I’d just like to know if anyone else has experienced this. Day 2 and I still feel dizzy and nauseas.

    • I had upper right removed last year and did fine. I did have pain for 3 weeks. I ran out of pain killers and was afraid it was infected to have pain that long. Apparently, when you are in your 40’s, it just takes longer to recover.
      I had upper left taken out Thursday with a bone graph. I made 2 mistakes. I was so exhausted from my schedule when I got to the peridontic. I thought that would be a good thing as I was going to be put to sleep and could rest for a couple of days. But instead, being so exhausted, I came home and went straight to bed without using ice packs. On top of that, I curled up under a blanket, laying flat. If I had Iced and propped up, my jaw probably wouldn’t be the size of Texas right now. It is Saturday, the swelling has not improved, maybe worsened even.

  30. Steph Watson says:

    Day 2 of wisdom teeth extraction…. Been over lapping pain meds, drinking tins of fluids.. Bloody residue which is normal… Had all 4 extracted under sedation…. Gonna attempt to have pureed eggs later on..

  31. Just trying to help you guys out… With that being said i just got my 4 wisdom teeth extracted March 15 and there was NO pain at all the the one thing that did happen was i fainted on my way to the bathroom at my house but my dentist said it was likely to happen so dont be afraid if that happens to you..oh and they gave me 3 medications along with mouth rinse and still i feel no pain. And no solid foods just soft smooth foods like mashed potatoes or ice cream. Hope this helped you guys out there is no reason to be afraid.#takecare

  32. I had an emergency tooth extractions yesterday my wisdom teeth were killing me (cuz the gums were growing over the tooth) and they only got out 2 1/2 of them (yes 2 and 1/2) the first 2 came out fine, the 3rd one broke and the forth one for some reason they couldn’t get numb so once they started drilling I felt EVERYTHING so they had to stop. I have to go to some special dentist tomorrow to finish everything but the pain medications are not working so I feel like death. (They gave me Norco and 800 ibuprofen.) I was suppose to have enough norco for 2 or 3 days. In less than 20 hrs I was down to my last 2. my head and tooth are throbbing and I feel real dizzy, light headed, and nauseous on top of the pain. I just want to sleep but the pain is just getting worse and worse. I don’t know what to do. Any advice would help. Oh and no stitches either.

  33. Vickie Harvey says:

    Just had my top left wisdom tooth pulled how. Long will I have this pain scale 1-10 it’s a ten I’m taking t-2and rinsing with salt water but it’s not helping me. My whole left side hurts even a earache

  34. Tomas ariason says:

    I took mine out 4days ago I live in Sweden and they gave me citodone500mg that isnt doing shit for me so I started taking with ibuprofen400mg. I helps for about a few hours then back to extreme pain for another 4 to 5 hours. I tried it all salt water , ice, levitation. I just feel like death is upon me.

  35. Summer Bauguess says:

    I had all 4 wisdom teeth removed 3 days ago. I’ve given birth twice, and I think I’d rather do it again than to deal with the constant pain that I’m in now. The first day I was fine, but every day after just keeps getting worse. I’m dizzy, weak and my ears are doing something strange. I did have impacted teeth and they did have to stretch my mouth open well past my comfort zone due to a small mouth and TMJ issues. I’m guessing between that and the fact that I’ve been smoking (I know, it’s stupid…shouldn’t do it) but I’m having a tough time getting over this. And the only pain meds I’m taking is 800mg ibuprofen. No narcotics. Anyone else have severe jaw pain and ear issues?

  36. Hi Dr Mark,
    Amazing post! This would be a great help for those who will have a wisdom tooth extraction. Most surgeons do not provide some of the information listed here. For example, my doctor never told me about drinking ice-cold coconut water post-op, but it does make sense. It seems to be both refreshing and filling. I wish I knew this before. It’s a nightmare trying to eat after the extraction, and I lost a lot of weight from not having anything to eat. Not sure if I should be happy about that.

    A word of advice for those who would be going through this tough ordeal: be gentle to your mouth. I must have been too vigorous in rinsing my mouth with saline that I had to go back to the surgeon the day after because of bleeding. Follow your dentist’s advice to the letter. Good luck to you all!

  37. 6 days after 1 wisdom tooth and adjoining molar removed borh impacted still lots of pain ear ache jaw and teeth pain cannot go with out pain much longer

  38. I just had my top wisdom teeth removed today and my procedure i give my dentist office 100% I was under sedation and when I work everything was great.
    On my way home I felt I wanted to throw up,but my stomach was empty cause I cohkdnt eat 6-8hrs before.
    Am home and recovering very well,haven’t felt any pain as yet and praying it continues that way.
    Only thing am so hungry.

  39. Just had my bottom right wisdom tooth extracted and soon the left one. I just want you guys to feel positive. I felt the pain I could stand the first hours after the surgery. It’s okay. When you feel the pain, you will appreciate how it is to be healthy. The pain will disappear. Trust me. 🙂

  40. Day 2: had all 4 wisdom teeth taken out yesterday. Slight discomfort. Been mostly eating mashed potatoes and eggs. Can’t wait till the holes heal up so I can eat normally again.

  41. Had my bottom left wisdom tooth out 10 days ago. Made the mistake of spitting out and rinsing less than 24 hours after surgery. The key to extraction recovery is making sure blood clot covers the tooth which helps healing, so avoid eating any solid foods for at least 3 days, definitely do not rinse or spit for at least a day. Smoking is an absolute no-no unless you want unbearable pain for several weeks.
    Definitely make sure to gargle with warm salt water several times a day. You can buy a mouth rise which contains hyalouronic acid, can help with gum healing.
    Day 4 – 8 can be excruciating, the pain will go by around day 9 or 10. Hang in there, the pain will soon end!

  42. had 2 teeth out 4 days ago one wisdom and one front,still painfull, keep taking painkillers even if not sore and dont smoke, even a couple of puffs can do harm, keep resting up as much as possible, soft food, and watch for dry socket.

  43. Krystal Marrero says:

    I had 1 wisdom tooth pulled. I don’t know why he used 3 numbing needles that normal? How long after teeth pulled does pain start and numbing ends?

  44. Albert jefferys says:

    yeah the pain sucks a lot hope it goes away soon wish u never had to go through it

  45. Hi, I got my wisdom teeth out a few weeks ago and for the last week or two my mouth was completely normal (not swollen) and my doctor said I was all healed, I woke up one morning this week and one side of my face was completely swollen as if I had Horton them out again (I got all four out) and the weirder part is the other side that’s completely fine was the side that had two impacted teeth. Is this normal or should I be concerned?

    • Absolutely!

      Go back asap in and get an X-ray of the affected area. Could be a post op infection or another tooth (many times the 2nd molars have deep cavities because the 3rd molars are in too long).

      Good luck, and i’m sorry this is happening to you.


  46. Sangeetha S says:

    Hi Doctor, I just had my right lower wisdom tooth extraction yesterday… My right side face till neck is swollen like a small apple. Am taking only liquids like cold water and milk. Am not able to turn my face to right at all. It pains that time. Taking medicines as prescribed. What else I need to follow in order to reduce the swelling? I do warm water gargling.

  47. Angela Chebet says:

    Hi doc,I had my bottom right wisdom tooth removed 2 days ago.The pain keeps coming and going and it’s a bit swollen. .I’m on painkillers and Antibiotics though. ..ope it will heal so

  48. Just had my wisdom tooth out and its been 3 days now i still have that taste in my mouth and iv still got alot of pain how long dose it last and my cheak where i had my wisdom tooth out feels like a lump is it infected i dont no

  49. Ridley Fitzgerald says:

    It’s great to know how to help wisdom teeth surgery recovery go fast. I had no idea that keeping your head elevated was so important. When my son gets his removed, I’ll remember this.

  50. Just got my wisdom teeth removed (all four) and I am in so much pain. I am on the fourth day now and it has only gotten worse. Is that normal? I have run out of the narcotics they prescribed me and may need more because I don’t like taking 6+ Tylenol a day.

  51. I am having my bottom 2 wisdom teeth out and then have an appointment 7 days later to check that and have my Invisalign in. I’m wondering if I will still be too sore to have it put in then!??

  52. I took out 4 of my wisdom teeth how fast would the recovery be

  53. Avery Stueler says:

    I had 4 wisdom teeth removed on Thursday and it is not Wednesday almost a week from my surgery. I am still in a lot of pain and I’m still swollen. I had 2 dry sockets packed 2 days ago. I do feel a little better but I’m still hurting and I can’t eat anything. Is this normal? And how long am I going to feel like this?:(

  54. I had all 4 of my wisdom teeth extracted plus the two last molars on both sides on the bottom. Surgery was exactly a week ago and the pain on the right lower side is almost unbearable, i have also built up a tolerance to ibuprofen and Tylenol does not work. trying to avoid going to the dentist, any suggestions or ideas of how to make it better?

  55. Trying Kratom for pain right now – and it works.

  56. Hemant jat says:

    Hi doctore
    I was extract my wisdom tooth which was horizontal impected a week ago. But swelling steel over there. how many days it take to recover complite recovery

  57. Shyanne mills says:

    I just got mine out 2 days ago, and last night was the first night sleeping, and I couldn’t go to bed on time because I kept throwing up, and since I hadn’t eaten all day except icecream I had barely anything to throw up. Is it because the swallowing of blood or what? And how long does the bleeding last?

  58. Well done for this wonderful essay. It took me 6 weeks to recover(totally pain free) from my wisdom tooth removal. I am 26, I had to sleep with my back against many pillows, and took tramdol and some. My recovery delayed mainly because I hadn’t completed my dose

  59. Jennifer Engel says:

    June 23 2017 at the age 42 just had my bottom Wisdom tooth out. Very painful and it’s almost 2 weeks on Friday and it still hurts. Going back tomorrow for a follow up ?

  60. Had my 2 lower wisdom teeth pulled yesterday. Pain in the doctors office. Came out looking good. A few hours later…Bang! My face looks like Rocky Balboa just fought Drago! I had ice both sides 10 mins each about 1 hr. There is no pain. But I am taking the medicine prescribed to the letter. Pain,swelling, and antibiotics. Had to call in to work today cause of the swelling. Hope swelling goes down today. Had stitches done on both sides. Will go back in about a week. Stay positive people. Just follow the guide lines your doc gave you. And take what you can and works from this post. Cheers!

    • How did you get your swelling to go completely down

  61. I got one wisdom tooth removed at the bottom , and it’s been 5 days and my swelling is still yet to come completely down and I’m still not able to open my mouth all the way , this is the worst!

  62. I just got three of my wisdom teeth pulled Friday it is now Sunday I’m in slot of pain meds started working then they got to where they stopped I’m having lots of pain my teeth feel sore and tender like they are going to fall out my jaw is killing me on the side they stitched up idk how I’m going to make it six weeks I’m in lots of pain

  63. I got all 4 of my wisdom teeth taken out under general anesthesia on sunday 13th .. everything was going smoothly in the surgery .. first day was a little bit tough .. now nearly five days post op and I am still a little bit swollen on my left side and I can not open my jaw fully with a little dull pain along my whole jaw .. however, the most annoying is that I cant feel my left side of the tongue till now 😞 .. I am currently off pain killers .. I hope we all get better soon.

  64. Just got all four wisdom teeth out today and the pain isn’t horrible yet, my lip and chin are still numb I still have some blood and am not sure how long this will last.

  65. Hi all,

    I got my lower left wisdom tooth removed on Nov 2 and it’s been almost 3 full days after it pulling out. My cheek is very swollen now, but I don’t have fever or pain. I have something like a hard lump, and the cheek is swollen around it. I am on antibiotics and I really hope the infection is prevented. I also have numbness in my lower lip and chin, because the tooth was close to the nerve. I am worried about my cheek being so big and not going down yet. Someone that has experience something similar?


  66. Hi all,

    I had my lower left tooth extracted on the 2nd of November. I am still very swollen, no pain, no fever, I am on antibiotics 4th day. The problem is that I have a bump on my cheek which sounds normal, but it’s very hard and as big as a grape. Tried to push(not really squeeze it but press it) it a little bit and from the wound there was something like blood coming out, but not really thick as blood, I would describe it as lymph fluid maybe. Also my neck started swelling too. And one more thing, my lower lip and chin on the left side are numb from the beginning. I talked to my OS on the phone (it’s sunday, so there is no one at the clinic), she said she wants to see me, but also said it’s probably a lymph. Tomorrow morning I will go to the clinic. Does someone experienced something similar? I am worried it could be infected and I waited too long. I was following all of the instructions to keep my mouth clean, using a mouthwash eludril from the second day. I know I wasn’t supposed to push it, but from all I was reading on the internet wanted to see if it’s pus.

    Thank you!

  67. Heya,

    Just had 1 tooth removed from my bottom right. I was nervous as hell and very dry/thirsty when i went into the surgery (I hadnt drank for 8 hours though). Dentist just told me to breathe slowly and they gave me IV in my arm to calm me down. After that it was just easy, cant remember much only the dentist saying open wide, open wide and now after 8 hours (and a bit of sleep) I am surprised how good I feel. Just a little sore in cheek like i’ve been punched but its fine.

    Worse bit is the anxiety before and not being able to smoke after for a while. I’m 36 so hoping will heal within couple days if i remember not to use straws or spit out anything so that the blood clot can heal the socket.

  68. Thanks for the advice…my dentist has not really discussed the dry socket risk. I have by necessity taken it easy. From the info on the video it would seem that inhaling very strongly (e.g. when smoking) could also cause problems. I am not entirely sure that is the case- I could not be, do not have enough information to that effect- but I plan to be a bit more careful in this direction.

  69. Hi, I had all 4 wisdom teeth and all 4 2nd molars removed under general anaesthetic on 27th November, I was given Codeine, ibruprofen and paracetamol. I can’t eat solids still and the pain is unbearable. Because I’m not able to eat much I am struggling with the pain medication. I feel dizzy and nauseas. Can anyone advise on how long I should wait before seeking help from my dentist please ?

  70. Hii today my wisdom teeth extraction and surgery was done in the morning 11 o clock still it’s bleeding and paining.. may I know what tips need to follow plzz help me out..

  71. Hi! I’m getting all 4 removed in 2 weeks. I’m already going to take that day and the following say off. But the big thing is, I’ll be moving out of my apartment into a house the 3rd day!
    My question is, will I be okay to move or would I risk myself and my healing teeth?

  72. Amanda Drew says:

    Thanks for pointing out that you should never use heat near the extraction site on the first day. My daughter is about twelve now, and I think that it should be time for her to get her wisdom teeth out. We’ll have to find an oral surgeon to take them out for us.

  73. Had lower right taken out today. Been 4 hours now, sedation has worn off. Hurts very bad but should get better. Hopefully.

  74. Ridley Fitzgerald says:

    It’s good to know more about recovering from oral surgery. I like how you said that something as simple as keeping your head elevated can keep the pain down. My son is going to need his wisdom teeth out soon, so I’ll make sure he sleeps with his head up.

  75. Rosa Carter says:

    I really love this post, this has helped me out a lot mind you I’ve been in the dental field for 25 years. I started as front desk and then I went to the back assisting for a couple years, but I found my niche in dental billing eventually I married to Dentist who did my or surgery. I feel like I should’ve went and got general Anasthesia and been knocked out for this because it was not as smooth as I seen it done. I have a dry socket three days post op I have a horrible headache all the time my whole left side of my ear and jaw and neck and even shoulder is hurting There is a terrible smell an odor that comes out of my mouth when we exchanged a dry socket paste a couple of times, I’ve rinsed with salt water I came home I fell asleep which I guess was the worst thing to do, laid my head down flat and somewhere along the way my blood cot came out probably from brushing the horrible smell out of my mouth, and I’m reading all the comments everything that everyone is saying I have. So to my older wisdom tooth extraction patients here, I am here with you I feel every pain you feel I know everything you’re going through I’m postop eight days I’m in extreme pain and we’re going to Curretage today and get some more blood flowing and see what happens…. I love this post thank you Dr for posting it and I took a lot of your comment and instructions and I will be adding them to our post op instruction sheets, for our patients thanks again let’s hang in there together. Some of the comments made me laugh, when they mention it’s smells like death and they feel like death this is so true …laughter is the best medicine stay positive stay on Motrin get it checked once a week I guess don’t exercise relax this is a good time to tell your husband you don’t have to cook every day and for the men this is a good time to tell your wives you can’t fix everything in the house not for the next two months because from what I’ve heard it’s up to eight weeks recuperating time sounds crazy but I’m beginning to believe it!

  76. Allen Gotora says:

    Thanks for sharing this content with us which is loaded with beneficial information. i would like to add some points over this.
    Don’t Use a Straw: Don’t use a straw to drink liquids. The sucking action will pull the clot that has formed out of the socket. This can result in an extremely painful condition called dry socket. It can also extend your healing time and increase your risk of infection.

    Don’t Overdo It after Wisdom Tooth Removal: A wisdom tooth removal procedure is a surgical procedure. It’s important that you keep your head elevated and take it easy for the first few days after the procedure to have a sound sleep. Doing too much too soon can cause the wound to bleed or can increase your risk of infection.
    I think this will also shouldn’t do after the surgery. Thanks again!

  77. I wish I knew all of this after my wisdom tooth extracted on Tuesday (21August) 2018.
    I have been taking pain blogs ever since and after I would sleep for long long period of time, I would sleep on my right cheek and when I wake up feel the pressure.

  78. Mickey H. says:

    I just got my wisdom teeth taken out 3 days ago and throughout all the past 3 days I have been sleeping on my side. So I was wondering can sleeping on your cheek after a wisdom teeth removal slow the recovery/healing process.

    • Mark Burhenne, DDS says:

      If you’re rough, or have a sucking motion, yes it can dislodge the clot. Try to sleep on your back if you can, otherwise, be cautious.

  79. Thank you for stating that you should keep your head elevated for the first three days after getting your wisdom teeth out. I might be getting my wisdom teeth out soon. I will definitely keep all of your great tips and information in mind so I can have a great recovery after I get my wisdom teeth out.

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