Are your wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, impacted (blocked from erupting by the gum, jaw bone or adjacent teeth)? Are they causing you recurring episodes of jaw or facial pain or facial swelling that requires antibiotics? If you’ve had braces (orthodontic treatment), have you recently become aware that your other teeth are becoming crooked again? If any of these scenarios ring true for you, it is recommended that you have your impacted teeth removed.

Although wisdom teeth removal can seem scary, it’s actually a routine procedure that is performed daily by Specialist Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

If you’re seeking advice on how to best recover from a wisdom teeth extraction, we can help. Here are our best wisdom teeth removal recovery tips for a swift, relatively pain-free experience after your surgery:

Do I need to see a Specialist Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, as my Dentist said that they could do the job?

A Specialist Surgeon can provide you with the benefits of many years of additional training and developed, precise, rehearsed technical skills from encountering a range of challenging surgical procedures.

Specialist Surgeons routinely perform a wide range of surgical procedures and are trained to identify potential complications before they become a reality. Specialist Surgeons are skilled in the use of the latest technological advancements to enable minimally invasive surgical procedures that reduce both surgical risks and procedure time. This results in quicker recovery time and fewer complications.

Most people will prefer to have this procedure done whilst they are asleep (General Anaesthetic in Hospital) and this service is also available when you see a Specialist Surgeon. A Dentist is likely to have far less experience with surgical procedures, far less awareness of the risks of complications and less insight on what to do in the event of a complication developing. A Dentist will not be able to offer procedures under general anaesthetic in Hospital.

Why are my wisdom teeth impacted?

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars (after the first set at 6 years of age and the second set at 12 years of age) that usually ‘erupt’ or try to force their way into the mouth between the ages of 17 and 25. Most adults have four wisdom teeth, though it is possible to have both less and more. These teeth can become ‘impacted’ if there is not enough room in your mouth for them to erupt properly (they are blocked from erupting above the gum, surrounding jaw bone and adjacent teeth).

An impacted wisdom tooth will often remain partially submerged in the gums and may lie at an unusual angle (sideways or horizontally), making it impossible for the tooth to self-correct. This contact with the adjacent tooth can cause damage to the other tooth (second molar), thus necessitating the need for removal of both third and second molars. The partially erupted tooth becomes a haven for plaque and bacteria growth which can lead to cavities and possible painful infections.

What does wisdom teeth removal surgery involve?

Whether your surgery is performed awake or asleep, your Specialist Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon will administer long acting local anaesthetic to numb the tooth extraction site. A long acting anaesthetic ensures you are comfortable both during and for a long time after the procedure has been completed.

Once the site is deeply numb, the procedure begins by accessing the tooth / bone through an incision in the gum. Bone and tooth may require removal to allow for complication free
tooth extraction. The extraction site is then irrigated and stitched together, so that bleeding from the wound has ceased.

Wisdom teeth removal recovery timeline

For the most people, recovery from wisdom teeth surgery is quite short. Expect to be swollen and sore for 2-3 days afterwards (Recovery time increases for older people). You will be provided with scripted strong pain relieving medications to use through the recovery period.

How long does pain after wisdom tooth extraction last? Naturally, any pain or symptoms will be worse on the first few days after surgery and reduce with time. Overall, expect to feel pain for the first two days (although this will be mostly mitigated by anaesthetic), with a dull ache for another couple of days.

The stitches will be dissolvable, most dissolve within a couple of weeks (a few will take 4 weeks to dissolve).

The wisdom tooth extraction site itself should take between two weeks to one month to heal by refilling with solid gum tissue. The bone should heal in about six months.

Wisdom teeth removal aftercare: How to feel better after getting wisdom teeth

  1. Allow for enough recovery time after surgery. You will be swollen (and sore) for 2-3
    days after surgery, so make sure you schedule the procedure to allow some time
    away from your normal timetable.
  2. Keep the wounds clean with simple salt water rinses. The stitches that hold the
    wounds together are placed to ensure that the wounds don’t bleed, that the wound
    heals faster and that infection risk is reduced. All stitches used are self-dissolving
    and do not need to be removed.
  3. Change your diet to soft easy to eat foods (ice cream, yoghurt, jelly, custard, soups,
    stews) – essentially anything that you can consume without really chewing.
  4. Make sure you take the post-operative medications (pain relief and antibiotics) and
    as directed.

#1 To reduce wisdom teeth swelling, bruising and discomfort, apply ice packs to the outside
of your mouth for a couple of minutes at a time for two days.

#2 Try to limit any food or drink consumption until more than two hours after your surgery.
Once your bleeding stops, you may drink gradually increase your intake of water and soft

#3 Try to avoid talking or conversation for at least two hours post-surgery. Aim to keep your
jaw still and embrace rest.

#4 Do not touch the extraction site or wound, as this can increase the risk of infection.

#5 Bite gently on the gauze pad that your dentist gives you to assist with clotting the blood.
Switch this pad regularly with a clean one when it becomes too saturated.

#6 Your body will likely feel extremely tired after the surgery. Sleep as much as possible to
help your body heal.

#7 Avoid laying flat by propping your head up with a pillow.

#8 Do not rinse your mouth until at least 12 hours has passed since your surgery. After that,
gently rinse your mouth with a cup of warm water with salt five or six times a day.

#9 Smoking is not advised.

#10 Do not engage in physical exercise.

#11 Be gentle when brushing your teeth in the days following your surgery. If you dislodge
the blood clot that forms on the extraction site, this can result in dry socket. If you develop
dry socket, you may prolong the recovery period and experience infection and severe pain
for up to 6 days.

#12 For wisdom teeth pain relief, your dentist or oral surgeon will prescribe medication to
help with your recovery process.

What is the best wisdom teeth recovery food?

When it comes to wisdom teeth recovery food, it’s best to stick with soft, bland foods that are easy to consume to avoid causing complications with your recovery. Opt for choices such as mashed bananas, yoghurt, soft scrambled eggs, tomato soup, pumpkin soup, avocado, fruit smoothies, and porridge. Avoid soft drinks, caffeinated drinks, alcohol, spicy foods, and crunchy or crumbly foods that may get stuck in the extraction site. Do not drink with a straw for at least a week as sucking can dislodge the blood clot from the socket.

What should I do if the wisdom teeth pain continues?

Most patients find that the pain or swelling they experience gradually decreases throughout the recovery period. Here are warning signs that you should contact your Specialist Surgeon:

  • Uncontrolled pain
  • Nausea or vomiting and you are unable to swallow fluids or food
  • Any bleeding from the wounds is abnormal and needs review
  • You feel hot / sweaty (a fever / infection may be developing)
  • You develop fresh facial swelling after the initial swelling has subsided

The following are expected during the recovery from oral surgery –

  • You have unpleasant breath
  • Your teeth are extremely sensitive to cold and hot temperatures
  • You have swollen gums or neck glands

Recovering from your wisdom teeth removal procedure is simple if you follow these simple wisdom teeth aftercare tips.

Talk to the experts at Dental Implant & Specialist Centre today to discuss your wisdom teeth concerns and options. Contact the experts at the Dental Implant & Specialist Centre today on (07) 5503 1744.