Millions of people across Canada have their wisdom teeth removed each year. Wisdom teeth extraction recovery is one of the most common concerns among these patients, but the good news is that there are plenty of tips to ensure the process is a smooth one. The following wisdom teeth removal recovery tips will help individuals in need of extractions mitigate pain and other potential effects.
Wisdom Teeth Recovery Timeline
The most common concern patients have in regard to their procedures is, “How long is wisdom teeth recovery?” Determining how long to recover from wisdom teeth removal varies from patient to patient, but the average wisdom teeth removal recovery time is roughly two weeks. During this time, patients may experience a variety of symptoms and effects, though everyone’s experience is different. Effects experienced during these two weeks include:
- Swelling in the mouth and cheeks.This is typically at its worst on the second and third day after the procedure, but it will gradually improve, especially when a cold compress is used to help reduce swelling.
- Pain. The fear of wisdom teeth removal pain can create anxiety in many individuals. Dentists and oral surgeons utilize various techniques to help prevent this pain, including anti-inflammatory drugs, narcotic pain relievers, and the application of cold compresses.
- Stiffness and soreness in the jaw. For the most part, stiffness and soreness goes away after the first seven to 10 days.
- Mild bruising. Some patients experience visible bruising on and around their cheeks, but this resolves itself within the two-week wisdom teeth removal recovery time.
Self-Care at Home
The three biggest concerns for patients following their extractions are pain, dry socket, and infection, but there are plenty of ways to prevent these. Following these post-extraction tips is vital to good recovery.
- Pain - To prevent post wisdom teeth removal pain, patients are instructed to take their painkillers as prescribed. Patients may be advised to alternate their prescription-strength pain medications with anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling, which is also helpful for mitigating pain after wisdom tooth extraction. Consuming only liquid or soft food for the first few days can also help prevent pain, as can the application of a cold compress for 10 to 15 minutes at a time once per hour.
- Dry Socket - Dry socket occurs when the blood clot left in the socket after wisdom tooth extraction becomes dislodged, exposing the nerves below to air and causing severe pain. To avoid this, patients are instructed to avoid drinking alcohol or smoking for at least 24 hours. They should also avoid hot drinks, spitting, rinsing, or any other activities that may dislodge the blood clot.
- Infection - Very few patients develop infection during wisdom teeth removal recovery. To avoid this, it is important to start rinsing with antiseptic mouthwash after the first 24 hours, and especially after eating. To further prevent infection and reduce soreness, patients may also use warm salt water as a rinse.
Wisdom teeth extraction recovery is different for everyone, but there are steps patients can take to make it is painless and headache-free as possible. Dentists and oral surgeons work to keep patients comfortable during and after the procedure via pain medications, the reduction of swelling, and self-care tips designed to prevent infection and dry socket.