While having wisdom teeth extracted is almost a rite of passage for older teens and young adults, this process still involves a surgical procedure. Patients should talk about the recovery period with their oral surgeon so that they know what to expect and how to prevent potential complications. It’s also important to monitor your mouth for signs of complications so that you can follow up with your oral surgeon as soon as possible in case additional care is needed.
Recovery After Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Patients are likely to experience their most significant post-operative symptoms in the 24-48 hours following a wisdom tooth extraction, although these symptoms may not necessarily be severe. Any discomfort that occurs can often be managed with over-the-counter medications. If necessary, your provider can prescribe stronger painkillers. There may be some minor bleeding on the first day after surgery as well, and this is not causing alarm unless it is excessive or enduring.
Patients will need to eat a softer diet for a few days after having their wisdom teeth removed, and they should avoid vigorous activity for the first several days, as that can interfere with the healing process. However, most patients are able to resume their normal routines within a couple of days. Keep in mind that older patients may take longer to recover after having their wisdom teeth extracted.
Potential Post-Operative Complications and How to Prevent Them
The most common complications after wisdom tooth extraction are dry sockets and infection. Dry sockets occur when the blood clot protecting the nerve endings in the empty socket either fails to form or is dislodged prematurely. To avoid dry sockets, patients should abstain from smoking and using drinking straws for a specified period of time after the procedure. Your oral surgeon will give you more information about this.
Keeping the extraction site clean is essential to preventing infection. Follow the instructions provided by your surgeon for this aspect of your recovery. You may also need to take a prescribed course of antibiotics as a preventive measure.
Signs of potential complications include persistent or severe discomfort, fever, noticeable signs of infection, such as pus, or ongoing bleeding. If you experience any of these symptoms, call our office to follow up and be evaluated for additional care.
Your surgeon will review this aspect of your procedure with you in greater detail at your consultation and will provide written instructions for self-care at home on the day of your appointment. We want this process to go as smoothly as possible for you, so don’t hesitate to call our office to ask any questions you may have at any time, especially if you feel that something is not right with your body. We are here to help!