The Wisdom Tooth Removal Recovery Time

After wisdom teeth removal, you may have questions about speeding up the healing process and what food is safe to eat. This article will address these concerns in detail. We’ll also discuss pain management after the surgery, some foods you should eat following your operation, and others that you should avoid! Finally, we’ll talk about what to expect in the first ten days following your surgery.

As many people know, wisdom teeth are the last set of molars that most people develop. They typically come at around age 17 or 18 and can cause various problems if they come incorrectly. One common problem is when they grow sideways into the jawbone instead of straight up into the dental arch. When this happens, you need to have an oral surgeon remove them for you.

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) recommends that people have their wisdom teeth checked before the age of 20 to evaluate how they’re growing and check for the possibility of wisdom teeth impaction while the roots are still developing.

Your dentist may recommend that your third molars be removed to prevent the risk of complications such as overcrowding, impaction and tooth cavities. Although it is an outpatient procedure, it still falls under significant surgery.

What to Expect in The First Ten Days After the Wisdom Tooth Removal?

Wisdom teeth extraction may bring swelling and discomfort, and they are part of the natural healing process, but they can also be very painful. How long does it take for the swelling and pain to go down after wisdom tooth removal? When will you be able to chew crunchy fruits with ease again?

Wisdom tooth extractions are one of the most common dental surgeries done in a dental chair. It is an outpatient procedure, which means you can go home once it’s done or recover from anaesthesia. The recovery period varies from person to person, but generally speaking, most people can recover in three to four days. But it can take up to two weeks to recover fully. However, by looking after the wound, a person can heal as quickly as possible.

The healing process may take closer to two weeks, especially if you have an impacted wisdom tooth removed.

Within 24 hours, a blood clot may start to form, and it’s essential to look out for them not to dislodge them. During the first few days, you will notice that your mouth or cheeks are swelling and minor bleeding, which is a normal reaction to the surgery. It may have worsened for three to four days, but it should improve gradually. Home remedies like gently patting an ice pack on the side of your face will reduce the swelling.

On the fifth day, you may observe an unpleasant taste in your mouth, and the pain may still be unbearable; this is true especially for complex extractions. Seven days after the wisdom teeth surgery, mild bruising, jaw soreness or stiffness may still be visible, but you should start seeing improvement within seven to ten days.

Learn More: Why Is Impacted Wisdom Teeth Painful

Ways to Speed up The Healing

There are some things you can do to speed up your wisdom teeth removal recovery. One of the most vital parts of faster recovery is taking care of the blood clot.

Blood clots will form at the site of a tooth that has been removed. They are an essential part of the healing process because they can protect the surgical wound from the chance of infection and the exposed bone. Blood clots are also crucial due to the natural growth of new tissue in the area, which can help prevent too much bleeding. 

To prevent common complications, you can do the following things for faster wisdom tooth recovery:


In order to avoid dislodging them, you should avoid brushing your teeth, especially near the surgical sites. It might be the only time your dentist will advise you to skip brushing, but it is helpful during this period. Although keeping them clean is particularly essential, too, and you can do it by rinsing them with warm water with a tablespoon of salt. Warm salt water has great natural ingredients for alleviating inflammation and preventing the risk of infection.

Ask your dentist if you can use an antiseptic mouth rinse to keep your mouth clean.

Ice Pack

Swelling can be sometimes irritating. To reduce swelling and discomfort, put an ice pack on your jaw. The cold from the ice pack can reduce inflammation and pain throughout your whole body.

Pain Medication

You can take over-the-counter pain killers, or your oral surgeon may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication or pain relievers to manage severe pain. Keep in mind to follow the prescription.

Avoid straws

Sucking on a straw can dislodge the blood clot, leading to more bleeding. Try to drink from a glass to keep you hydrated.


You need to take off from work or any strenuous activity to avoid pressure and recover from lost energy.

Learn More: Wisdom Tooth Infection: Risk, Symptoms and Treatment

Tips for Pain Management After the Surgery?

For the first ten days after wisdom teeth removal, your dentist or oral surgeon will inform you about the aftercare for your mouth during the recovery process. It is essential to follow your caregiver’s instructions closely.

Days after surgery, it’s normal to experience pain and swelling. You may also notice minor bleeding from the wound. Give your practitioner notification if you’re experiencing excessive bleeding even after biting down on a cotton pad for ten minutes.

Whether you should take prescription-only or over-the-counter meds, and which types of medications work best.

The best ways to manage pain and reduce swelling after removal are by using ice and taking pain medication. Ask your dentist about how and when to use an ice pack. We advise not to put ice directly on your face, as it may lead to ice burn.

While you are recovering, your mouth is prone to a buildup of bacteria. Antibiotics are a medicine that can fight infection, and they will only be prescribed if necessary. If the pain feels unbearable, you can ask a pharmacist or your doctor for pain relief medicine.

Learn More: Wisdom Teeth Removal: What To Expect Before & After Surgery

What Can You Eat After the Wisdom Teeth Surgery?

It’s essential to keep hydrated and eat well while recovering from wisdom teeth removal. Ask your dentist for specific instructions on what you can eat during the first few days of recovery, as well as the time frame until you can resume eating hard foods. Your diet will depend mainly on post-surgical pain levels; plan ahead by choosing easy-to-eat healthy foods that won’t interfere with your stitches or blood clots, like soup and pudding.

Three to five days you can eat soft foods:

  • Blended soups or broths
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Pureed and seedless fruits (avoid citrus fruits)
  • Mashed vegetables
  • Mashed banana
  • Soft noodles
  • Pudding
  • Smoothies
  • Jelly
  • Apple sauce

In seven days, you may start to gradually eat semisoft foods like:

  • Scrambled eggs with milk
  • Oatmeal
  • Macaroni

What Shouldn’t You Eat After the Wisdom Tooth Removal?

It is crucial to stay clear of foods that might irritate the area as it becomes vulnerable after your extraction. Avoid hot beverages, which may burn sensitive tissue, and crumbly or solid foods that remain stuck at the extraction site.

Hot or too cold food may aggravate pain after wisdom tooth extraction by irritating surrounding nerves. You should also avoid any food that could quickly get stuck in the small space between your teeth.

For the first week, avoid:

  • Citrus juice (acidic)
  • Spicy foods
  • Grains rice and quinoa
  • Pizza
  • Hamburger
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Hot drinks
  • Seeds
  • Sticky candy

During the first two to four weeks after surgery, it might still not be a good time to eat crunchy foods. Thus, you should avoid:

  • Nuts
  • Chips
  • Popcorn

 Wisdom Tooth Recovery FAQs

  • How long will my face hurt after wisdom teeth removal?

Soreness or jaw stiffness are common. It will take about a week before you feel relief from the pain of your surgery and two weeks for any bruising to disappear.

  • How long does the pain last after wisdom teeth removal?

The first few days following wisdom tooth removal will be the most difficult. Recovery typically takes two weeks, and it will get easier as you progress.

  • How many days should you take off work after wisdom teeth removal?

When scheduling wisdom tooth removal, plan for a generous recovery period. Your doctor may tell you not to work or go back to school right away while your gums heal, and usually, that should be at least ten days.

  • How do I know if I have a dry socket or normal pain?

The pain of a dry socket may cause throbbing and radiate across the jaw area or even up to the ear. Unpleasant tastes in your mouth, bad smells coming from the wound are common indicators of a dry socket that can lead to bad breath. Observe if there is exposed bone or tissue that may be more prevalent since the tooth extraction or partially disintegrated clot.

In contrast, normal pain continues to improve and there are no changes in your mouth taste or bad breath. You can see a visible blood clot that stays until the wound heals.

Final Thoughts

For most people with this procedure, it will be uncomfortable or painful during the first few weeks. Still, by following a set of common precautions along with some careful choices on a diet, you should have an easier time recovering quickly from your surgery.

It is essential not to consume any citrus juice due to its acidic content because it could quickly get stuck in a small space between teeth, which may cause discomfort and lead to other problems, such as the increased risk of developing a dry socket. After all, maintaining oral hygiene is a way to help the healing process.

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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.