Wisdom Teeth Aftercare: What Happens After Wisdom Teeth Surgery?

It’s been a few weeks since you had your wisdom teeth removed. You’re feeling better and have finally stopped taking pain medication, but now it’s time to think about what happens after wisdom tooth surgery and how to care for them. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what happens after and what might happen after the surgery and provide some tips for wise tooth care!

Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to come in at any point between 17 and 21 years of age, depending on how large your jawbone is. When the wisdom tooth comes through normally, it has room to move around in the mouth without disrupting other teeth or the jaw. However, some people don’t have enough space for a wisdom tooth that needs to erupt near their molars. It creates many potential problems that can range from overcrowding, gum disease, or even tooth decay. Wisdom teeth need to be removed by a dentist to prevent these issues.

Wisdom tooth removal is safe and routine, but it can be nerve-wracking if you’ve never had much dental work done.

As your dentist or surgeon assures you of the best care during the procedure and provides you with simple things to take care of afterwards, that will ensure speedy recovery with minimal pain.

Here we will discuss what happens after wisdom teeth surgery and how you should care for them afterwards.

What Happens After Wisdom Teeth Surgery?

Wisdom tooth surgery is an outpatient procedure that can be done on the same day. In some cases, it may require local anesthesia, sedation or general anesthesia depending on the type of procedure and other factors. Suppose you get local anesthesia during wisdom teeth removal. In that case, you are probably awake during the extraction, and your dentist will likely inform you shortly after removing the tooth about any other necessary steps that might need to be taken at home post-surgery. On the other hand, if you receive general anesthesia, it will take longer for you to doze off from surgery – a few hours for most patients. However, recovery does not necessarily mean feeling 100%. You may feel lightheaded or lethargic upon awakening.

After wisdom teeth surgery, you may experience pain and swelling that is generally worse the first day, but taking ibuprofen to reduce inflammation can help. Keeping an ice pack on your face while recovering is also a way to get relief from discomfort.

What Might Happen After the Surgery, and What Can You Do?

What’s the worst that could happen? Perhaps some discomfort and soreness immediately following surgery and a few days after that. Otherwise, nothing major comes to mind. Though painless, as you will be given oral sedation or anaesthesia, this procedure can cause uncomfortable swelling and brux. Hence, it is vital to take care of yourself afterwards by eating healthy, limiting your intake of soda or carbonated beverages that promote tooth decay, and following good dental hygiene practices like brushing twice a day with gentle fluoridated toothpaste for two weeks after surgery, and avoiding chewing anything.

After the surgery, you might experience painful swelling, bruising, and bleeding. These side effects can be alleviated with some extra care.


When you get your wisdom teeth taken out, it is normal to experience slight bleeding. Your dentist or surgeon will place a gauze pad over the extraction site and instruct the patient to keep it intact for at least 30 minutes post-surgery to help stop the blood from flowing. You can also use pressure by biting down on the gauze with a gentle force so as to not only reduce but prevent any excessive bleeding altogether.

If the bleeding continues, bite down on a clean cotton pad for 10 minutes, and if this does not stop the bleeding, you need to contact your dentist. When your mouth is healing, try to avoid biting forcefully or engaging in any activities that might dislodge the blood clot or harm your healing gums.


Your dentist or oral surgeon will prescribe you pain relief, antibiotics to combat infection, and other medication to reduce swelling, and that may help make your recovery process more manageable. Take the prescribed medications so you can recover altogether!

Swelling & Bruising

Do you know those cute little chipmunks with puffy cheeks? You will resemble one after your wisdom teeth removal. But the good news is that you can reduce swelling and bruises by applying ice packs to the outside of your mouth over the extraction site area for fifteen minutes.

Other home care tips

Since caring for your mouth after getting wisdom teeth removed can be tricky, it’s essential to do a good job of taking care of your mouth. It could be the only time your dentist will advise you not to brush, rinse, or even floss for a whole day. Of course, you still need to eat and drink, but food particles can easily get stuck in the area where the tooth was removed. This keeps the wounds clean and challenging. It is essential to keep them clean and to look out for complications.

  • Mouth rinsing with salt water to keep the wound clean and reduce gum soreness. Don’t spit the water out when you rinse. Instead, tip your mouth over the sink and let the waterfall out.
  • You can use an antiseptic mouthwash to prevent infection.
  • Gently dab gauze on the wound to absorb excess blood.
  • Use an extra pillow to support your head at night.

When Should I Call My Dentist?

If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your dentist–they could indicate an infection, nerve damage, or another serious complication:

  • Sudden fever following post-surgery
  • Severe pain is not relieved by prescribed pain medication.
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Excessive bleeding in your mouth
  • Swelling that worsens after two or three days and is not reduced by a cold pack
  • Bitter or bad taste in your mouth is not gotten rid of with warm salt water rinses.
  • Observed pus in or oozing from the socket
  • Persistent numbness or loss of sensation
  • Blood or pus coming from your nose

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Surgery?

Wisdom tooth removal is one of the most common dental surgeries that heals in up to two weeks. The best way to recover as quickly as possible is by looking after the wound and making sure it’s clean, healthy, and free from infection, so healing may occur more rapidly. It’s essential to keep up with all your oral hygiene needs after a surgery like this, or it could cause infection and an extended healing time process!

Recovery time after wisdom teeth extraction varies depending on what type of sedation you received and the severity of the surgery. It can take a few days (gradually), but people should notice an improvement every day. However, if your teeth were impacted or came in at an awkward angle, it could take a whole week for you to recover fully.

The pain, bleeding, and swelling are normal reactions the day after the extraction, but symptoms should improve after three days. All pain and bleeding should be gone within a week of surgery. The healing process may vary, but here’s an estimated period of recovery:

24 hours – Noticeably swollen jaw and blood clots will form

2 to 3 days – Swelling of the mouth and cheeks should improve.

Seven days –Your dentist may remove any stitches that remain.

7 to 10 days – Jaw stiffness and soreness should be gone.

Two weeks –Any mild bruising on the face should heal.

You need to follow your dentist or oral surgeon’s instructions. Expect them to give you medicine like pain relief and antibiotics to help you fight infection.

Learn More: The Wisdom Tooth Removal Recovery Time

How Do I Know if I Have a Dry Socket or Normal Pain?

After removal of wisdom teeth, the tooth socket (an empty hole at the extraction site) mostly takes weeks to months to fully heal on its own with solid gum tissue. The underlying bone will heal and remodel in about six months. It can cause normal pain from the procedure but should gradually improve.

In contrast, the pain of a dry socket may produce a throbbing and radiating sensation across the jaw area or up to the ear. The indications of a dry socket may include an unpleasant taste in your mouth, and also, you may notice bad smells that are coming from the wound that is usually causing bad breath. Observe if there is a visible, exposed bone or tissue that may be more prevalent since the wisdom teeth surgery and if there is no visible blood clot or a partially disintegrated clot.

You will know if you have a normal or healed socket if the pain continues to improve, if you see a visible blood clot that stays until the wound heals, and if there are no changes in your mouth taste or how the breath smells.

If you notice any dry socket symptoms, contact your dentist immediately as the sockets may be susceptible to developing an infection that often causes delayed healing.

How Do You Know When Your Mouth Is Healed After Wisdom Teeth?

Recovery from wisdom tooth removal is usually gradual. Patients can see slight improvements in their pain or swelling every day. Hence, it is essential to observe the extraction area for any changes or ensure its healing.

There are several stages of healing you will experience after undergoing tooth extraction. You will know your gums are healing correctly by keeping these stages in mind:

  1. A natural blood clot forms where your tooth was extracted within the first 24 hours, and, depending on the size of your extraction site, you might experience discomfort during this time. Also, you may experience minor bleeding and swelling during this time, which is normal.
  2. Following wisdom teeth surgery, patients need to take care to avoid any actions that could dislodge the clot made inside their open socket. To do this, you should avoid sucking on a straw and brushing the area of your tooth extraction. Avoiding these things can help prevent painful complications such as dry sockets.
  3. Three days after the surgery, your gums will begin to heal and close around the extraction site.
  4. You should notice a decrease in tenderness around your socket 7-10 days after the procedure, and your gums should no longer feel sore or swollen.

As you can see, the recovery period for wisdom teeth extraction may vary among patients, but usually it takes a few days or a week. But you should see improvements within this period of time. There should be no bleeding present and difficulties with eating.

What Can You Eat After Wisdom Teeth Extraction?

After you’ve had your wisdom teeth removed, you must have a nutritious diet to reduce the risk of complications and aid in wound healing.

When it comes to wisdom teeth recovery food, it’s best to limit your consumption of foods. Your diet should consist of soft and easy to chew foods with lots of vitamins, minerals, energy, and protein for healing. They should also have a high water content to prevent dehydration. It will help with recovery and maintain your overall health. The following list of foods is the best option during post-surgery:

  • Mashed bananas
  • Ice cream
  • Jelly
  • Pumpkin soup
  • Tomato soup
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Avocado
  • Smoothies
  • Porridge
  • Hummus
  • Mashed pumpkin
  • Salmon

What can’t you eat?

In the days following your procedure, you should avoid eating hard, spicy or crunchy foods that may get stuck in the extraction site and try not to use straws or drink hot liquids for a few days. The dental health practitioner advises the following list of foods and drinks to avoid:

  • rice
  • nuts
  • foods with seeds or grains
  • chips
  • popcorn
  • Chewy sweets
  • Drinking coffee or alcohol
  • carbonated beverages such as soft drinks

Learn More: What Food Can I Eat After Wisdom Teeth Surgery?

Can I Drink Water After Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

We recommend drinking lots of water following surgery. Avoid sucking through a straw for at least a week to prevent the blood clot from dislodging and causing a dry socket.

Why Is Aftercare Advice so Important?

Following wisdom teeth extraction, be aware of other risks and complications you might face. A dry socket develops when a newly formed blood clot dissolves, exposing the bone and nerve endings previously shielded by your gums – it’s an infection that may cause pain. With aftercare, you can help prevent dry sockets as well as various other common post-surgery.

Things to Do to Speed up Healing?

Blood clots will form around the area where the tooth was removed. Blood clots are essential to the healing process because they can protect the wound from infection and allow new tissue to grow. Thus, it can protect the exposed bones in the area. Blood clots are known for preventing too much bleeding at the site of extraction.

For fast recovery, it is recommended to follow the instructions given to you by your dentist. Take pain relievers only if necessary and with the correct prescription to prevent further complications. You can speed up your recovery by avoiding pressure by eating only soft foods and brushing your teeth within the next 24 hours. You can rinse your mouth with an oral antiseptic mouthwash after 24 hours, and most importantly, you need to rest.

Things You Shouldn’t Do?

You will be encouraged to engage in normal activities the day after surgery. However, you are discouraged from forcing the issue if you are still experiencing pain and can avoid things that could dislodge stitches or blood clots during your recovery process. Here are the things you should not do:

  • Engaging in strenuous exercise – this means no running or weight lifting until then. It would be best if you avoided intense activities such as playing basketball or tennis during your recovery time.
  • avoid spitting
  • Vigorous rinsing
  • tobacco use
  • Drinking from a straw for at least a week as sucking can dislodge the blood clot from the socket.
  • eating chewy, spicy, hot and solid foods
  • Cleaning your mouth, even brushing your teeth around the area of your extraction on the first day of your recovery is prevented.
  • Don’t touch it! The extraction site will be extremely sore. No matter how clean your hands are, they carry bacteria that can cause a risk of infection. Avoid licking any wounds if at all possible.
  • Avoid lying in a flat position.

Learn More: The Wisdom Tooth Removal Recovery Time

Final Thoughts

This article discussed what to do after wisdom tooth surgery and what not to do. Wisdom tooth extraction is a standard procedure to either fix or prevent problems with the last set of molars.

As is the case with any wisdom tooth surgery, there are a few key takeaways that all recipients should know. It’s expected for patients to eat soft foods and resume regular daily activities the day after surgery.

After wisdom teeth surgery, recovery can take three days or up to a week or more. It’s essential to follow the postoperative instructions given by your dentist at home to help heal and reduce the risk of complications or infection. Typical symptoms include pain, swelling or numbness.

There is a small risk of developing a condition called dry socket. It causes an intense throbbing pain that persists after recovering from surgery and requires medical intervention to repair.

If you take proper aftercare days after surgery, it is unlikely that you would have any complications. If severe pain, excessive bleeding, an elevated temperature or other unusual symptoms, then finding a doctor or dentist may be necessary.

We hope this information was helpful to our readers who have had their wisdom teeth removed and want some tips on how they can take care of themselves afterwards.

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Peel Dental Studio


Dr. Bailey formerly served on the Australian Dental Association as President, Vice President Treasurer and Country Councillor. He was on the Australian Dental Association Federal Council and has always been keen to give back to the profession that has been his life. He has tutored student dentists at the Oral Health Centre in Perth.