Wisdom Teeth Aftercare: What You Need To Know

Booked in for a wisdom tooth extraction and completely freaking out? Wisdom teeth removal doesn’t have to be the painful experience you fear, provided you act smart and follow your dentist’s wisdom teeth aftercare instructions for a swift recovery.

There’s something about wisdom teeth removal that can have grown men and women breaking out in a nervous sweat. You needn’t worry. Many men, women, and even teenagers, have gone before you. It is important to remember that wisdom tooth removal is a routine procedure performed daily.

Your dentist or surgeon will place you in the best care during your wisdom teeth removal procedure and provide you with everything you need to know to ensure a speedy recovery with minimal pain.

So, stock up on wisdom teeth recovery food like ice cream and jelly, and prepare for the tooth fairy with these wisdom teeth removal survival tips. You can do this!

Wisdom teeth aftercare

Being vigilant with your dentist’s wisdom teeth aftercare instructions is the wisest move you can make after having your wisdom teeth extracted. There will be ice cream and jelly and all of the delicious soft foods you can imagine, yes, but you must also take proper care of your wound post-operation to ensure it heals quickly and without complication.

After your operation you will likely experience swelling, bruising and some bleeding, which can be easily minimised with a little extra tender loving care.

You’ll be chowing down on a steak in no time with these wisdom teeth aftercare tips.

#1 Swelling

The good news is that after your wisdom teeth removal, you will resemble a cute chipmunk with puffy cheeks. Not a fan of Chip ‘n’ Dale? Reducing wisdom teeth swelling is easy. Apply ice packs to the outside of your mouth on and off for up to two days. This will help to minimise swelling, bruising and discomfort.

#2 Bleeding

Be prepared to experience some bleeding depending on how many wisdom teeth you have extracted. Your dentist or surgeon will place a gauze pad over the extraction site. It is important you keep this pad intact for at least 30 minutes post-surgery to help stop the bleeding. You can bite down on the gauze pad with gentle pressure to assist with clotting the blood.

#3 Medication

Your dentist or oral surgeon will prescribe you pain relief, and antibiotics to fight infection. This is not a time to be brave. Ensure you take the medication prescribed to relieve your pain and assist with the recovery process.

Wisdom teeth recovery food: What can I eat after wisdom teeth removal?

It is wisest to start with clear liquids and soft foods after your wisdom teeth surgery. Think old favourites like ice cream and jelly, plus mashed potatoes and soft vegetables. If you can’t do without a dose of red meat, pop it in the blender to soften it. It is recommended you only return to food after the bleeding stops.

Other soft foods that are safe to eat:

  • Mashed bananas
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Blended soups, such as tomato or pumpkin soup
  • Avocado
  • Smoothies
  • Porridge
  • Hummus
  • Mashed pumpkin
  • Salmon

What foods should I avoid after wisdom teeth removal?

Stay away from soft drinks, caffeinated drinks, alcohol and foods that run the risk of getting stuck in the extraction site. Ouch! This means no nuts, popcorn, and definitely no chewy sweets.

Be sure to also avoid the following foods:

  • Spicy foods – these can inflame or cause irritation in the wound
  • Crunchy and crumbly foods – foods such as chips or cookies may crumble in your mouth, causing more harm than good
  • Foods with grains or seeds – these can get stuck in the extraction site

Can I drink water after wisdom teeth removal?

We recommend drinking lots of water following the surgery. Avoid drinking with a straw for at least a week because the sucking action can dislodge the blood clot from the socket and disrupt the healing process by causing a ‘dry socket’ to develop.

What is a dry socket? After your tooth is pulled, a blood clot will form in the extraction site to protect the bone and nerves underneath. If the clot becomes dislodged or dissolves, that leaves the bone and nerve exposed to air, food, fluid, and anything else that enters the mouth, leading to infection and severe pain which lasts for 5 or 6 days.

What to do after wisdom teeth removal: Wisdom teeth aftercare dos and don’ts

  • Eating will likely be the last thing on your mind, but you should limit food and drink immediately post-operation, as recommended by your dentist. This is usually two hours post-surgery.
  • We know you’re eager to tell everyone your wisdom tooth removal tale, but your dentist will recommend you keep quiet for at least two hours post-surgery.
  • Don’t touch! You’ll be keen to explore the extraction site with your fingers, but no matter how clean you think your hands are, they carry bacteria that will put you at risk of infection. Put your tongue on a leash, too!
  • Bite gently on the gauze pad to help stop bleeding.
  • Change the gauze pad if it becomes soaked with blood.
  • Rest. Rest, rest and more rest.
  • Prop your head up with pillows and avoid lying flat.
  • Be careful when you’re drinking. Don’t rinse your mouth, swish water around in it, nor spit out. After 12 hours you can gently rinse as advised by your dentist.
  • No smoking.
  • No vigorous exercise. See ‘Rest’ advice above.
  • Be careful when brushing your teeth in the days immediately post-surgery.

How do I keep my mouth clean after wisdom teeth removal?

After your surgery, you should rinse your mouth at least 5-6 times a day, especially after eating. Use a cup of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of salt.

How long does pain after wisdom tooth extraction last?

The wisdom teeth removal recovery timeline is typically short, up to 2 weeks. The symptoms will be worse on the first few days and will gradually reduce.

How long will it take for the hole to close after a wisdom tooth extraction?

Normally, the wisdom tooth socket should take about 2 weeks to 1 month to heal with solid gum tissue. The underlying bone will remodel and heal in approximately 6 months.

How long does it take for wisdom teeth stitches to dissolve?

Wisdom tooth removal often involves dissolvable stitches that will dissolve within a few weeks.

What if the wisdom teeth pain persists?

You will find that any pain or swelling you experience will improve each day. The following are warning signs that you should contact your dentist or surgeon:

    • the bleeding does not subside with pressure
    • the swelling becomes worse rather than better
    • you experience throbbing pain three or more days post-surgery
    • you have a fever
    • you have bad breath
    • you can see bone in the socket site.

Look out for the following symptoms of an infection after tooth extraction:

    • Bad breath or a bitter taste in the mouth
    • Fever
    • Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
    • Swelling gums
    • Swollen glands in the neck
    • Swelling in the jaw

It is unlikely you will experience these symptoms and complications, provided you follow the correct wisdom teeth aftercare instructions. If you do experience these negative side-effects, contact your dentist immediately. 

Why should I remove my wisdom teeth?

Wisdom tooth removal is a rite of passage for many of us. Wisdom teeth are usually positioned at the back of your mouth where there is little space to grow. This lack of space can cause your wisdom teeth to grow crooked, sideways and, in some cases, become impacted.

Your dentist is likely to recommend removing your wisdom teeth to avoid overcrowding and damaging healthy teeth. They will also recommend extraction to prevent or relieve you from experiencing jaw or nerve pain, and serious complications.

Impacted and hard to reach wisdom teeth run the risk of becoming decayed and infected, while in some cases, infection and bacteria around wisdom teeth can lead to disease.

What does wisdom teeth removal procedure involve?

Depending on the severity of your wisdom teeth issues, either your dentist or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon will perform the wisdom teeth extraction.

Your dentist will give you a local anaesthetic to numb the tooth extraction site. A general anaesthetic may be used for multiple wisdom teeth extraction.

The dentist or surgeon will open the gum tissue over and surrounding your tooth, or teeth, to assist with removal. They may need to cut bone around the tooth. After your wisdom tooth is extracted and the extraction site has been stitched, a cotton gauze pad will be applied to help stop the bleeding.

Again, it is important to remember wisdom teeth extraction is a routine daily procedure.

Recovering from wisdom tooth extraction is easy if you act smart and follow the wisdom teeth aftercare instructions from your dentist. Book an appointment with Australia Dental today to speak to one of our friendly dental professionals about your wisdom teeth concerns and options.