Recovery Time After Wisdom Teeth Removal

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The third molars, commonly referred to as wisdom teeth, are the last teeth to emerge in your mouth. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, about 85 per cent of wisdom teeth will need to be removed. Wisdom teeth are commonly removed because they've become impacted, which means their growth is blocked by another tooth or by jawbone tissue. Impacted wisdom teeth can be painful and can damage the jawbone and the roots of adjacent teeth. Your recovery time after surgery can depend on the difficulty of the extraction, which can range from a simple tooth extraction to a need to break or cut the jawbone to get an impacted tooth out.


A normal recovery time can be three days, according to the AAOMS. However, each day of healing can include different symptoms. Whether you heal in three days or a week, there will be mild discomfort to pain. Also, there will be swelling. Your dentist or surgeon may suggest that you modify your diet, so you'll go from eating soft foods to regular foods, slowly.

24 Hours

Several hours after the wisdom teeth have been removed, bleeding can occur from the empty tooth socket. Facial swelling where the wisdom teeth were extracted can also happen. Dentists will prescribe pain medication, since some degree of pain is expected to be associated with the surgery. For the first 24 hours, the AAOMS recommends that you eat soft foods and avoid alcoholic beverages or hot drinks. Also, during this time avoid brushing the areas near the extractions and avoid mouth rinses. Both can irritate the tender areas.

Day 2

You should feel better then you did the day before. However, swelling at the extraction site or sites may still occur. Also, rinse your mouth out with a 1/2-tsp of salt and warm water. This should be done after hours and before bed. Around this time you can start brushing your teeth without avoiding any areas. Watch for dry sockets in the extraction areas. Dry sockets happen for two reasons. Either a blood clot forms where the wisdom tooth used to be, or a blood clot did not form at all. Without blood clots, healing will be delayed.

One Week Later

If your doctor used stitches that do not self-dissolve, you will have to return to the office to have them removed. This will happen approximately one week after the surgery. During this time enough healing should occur so you can eat on the extraction site or sites with no problems.


Complications can form when recovery takes more than a week to a few months to heal. For instance, when you suffer from paresthesia there is numbness of the chin, lip or tongue. The numbness can last for three days, weeks or months. Paresthesia can be permanent too. Paresthesia is the result of wisdom teeth that are entrapped in the jawbone and are too close to the nerve. The nerves can be damaged or bruised during wisdom teeth removal.

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