Schedule a FREE Consultation
303-795-1443

7720 S. Broadway, Suite 430 | Littleton, CO 80122

Tips for recovery after wisdom tooth removal

happy teenager

Everyone responds a little differently to oral surgery.  Using these tips can make a better recovery for everyone.

Bleeding

Don’t panic about bleeding.  When blood mixes with saliva it may seem like more blood than is actually present.

You may have some bleeding for an hour to 24 hours after wisdom teeth removal.  You’ll be sent home with extra gauze.  Fold this gauze into a ball and bite on it to apply pressure to the surgery site.  Take advantage of the time you’re still numb to bite with pressure.  Good pressure will stop bleeding in less than an hour.

It’s not unusual to have slight bleeding or oozing for up to 24 hours.  If this happens, apply fresh gauze and bite with pressure.

If I could go back in time to when I had my wisdom teeth out, knowing then what I know now, I would do better applying biting pressure to the areas.  Good pressure has many benefits: the gums attach to the boney socket, the blood clot has a higher density, and swelling in the gums is minimized.

Swelling

Swelling in the healing process increases for two days and then decreases for two days.  Limit swelling by applying ice packs the first two days, and warm compresses starting on the third day.  Taking 800mg of ibuprofen three times a day will also limit swelling.

Ice packs can be applied 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off.  The cold limits swelling by decreasing circulation.  This is like slowing the number of cars that can enter a traffic jam.

By the third day it is better to switch to warm compresses to increase circulation.  The traffic jam has already happened and we need to get the cars out of the area.  Use a heating pad or a damp wash cloth heated in the microwave for about 15 seconds.  Apply the warm compresses to the cheeks.

Pain

Use prescription medication as directed.  Take the first dose soon after your procedure while the mouth is still numb.  Start with ibuprofen.  If you need more pain relief, combine the ibuprofen with a different medication like a narcotic or Tylenol.  It is better to combine two different pain medications than to take too much of a single medication.  To learn more about which medicines work best, read here.

Brushing and rinses

Be gentle when you brush in the area from which the wisdom teeth were removed.  You should still brush all the teeth.  Keeping your mouth clean and healthy will aid healing.  If food collects in the socket, use a toothbrush to gently dig it out.  Do not use rinses the first 72 hours after wisdom teeth removal.  Rinses may be used the third day to bathe the area, but do not rinse vigorously as this may cause a dry socket.  Salt water rinses are more mild than alcohol-based mouthwashes.

Activity

On the day of your procedure, expect to take the day off from work, school, and other activities.  Many people fell well enough to return to work and normal activities the next day, though some people benefit from a second day off.  Do not exercise for 72 hours after your procedure.

What can I eat after wisdom teeth removal?  What are good wisdom teeth recovery foods?

Most people are comfortable with a soft-food diet after wisdom teeth removal.  I recommend cooked vegetables, fish, fruit, protein drinks, scrambled eggs, and plenty of water.  Avoid junk food or sugar.  If you get good nutrition, your body has an amazing ability to heal quickly with a minimum of pain.  Extra vitamin C will also speed the healing of the gum tissue.

Do not do a liquid-only diet.  This makes it unlikely you’ll get full nutrition, and the motion of chewing even a soft diet will help keep the jaw more loose and comfortable during recovery.

If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to call.  We’re here to help you.