Recovery Tips After a Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Wisdom Teeth Extraction Newtown, CT

For many people, wisdom tooth extraction is necessary to maintain oral health. This procedure requires specific home care to ensure proper healing. Patients should follow professional recommendations to reduce discomfort and ensure a swift and healthy recovery.

Managing pain and swelling

Discomfort and inflammation are normal for the first few days after the procedure. These steps can help keep side effects under control.

Use cold compresses

Immediately after a wisdom tooth extraction, patients may use an ice pack to reduce swelling. It is important to place a cloth barrier between the skin and the ice pack to prevent irritation or damage.

Take pain medication as directed

In general, patients are directed to take pain relievers as needed for the first 24 to 48 hours after the procedure. If the wisdom teeth were deeply impacted and the surgery was lengthy, complex, or more invasive than normal, prescription pain medications may be issued. Patients should take care to follow the instructions for dosage and frequency, even if the pain subsides quickly since some medications are used to reduce inflammation or prevent infection as well.

Eat a soft food diet

Chewing and swallowing may be challenging for a few days, so a soft food diet should be followed as long as necessary. Healthy options include:

  • Soup
  • Cottage cheese
  • Applesauce
  • Greek yogurt
  • Smoothies

As pain and swelling subside, patients should feel more comfortable adding heartier foods back to their diet. This should be a gradual process and tough, hard, or chewy foods should be avoided until the incision site is properly healed. In addition, seeds and nuts should not be eaten until stitches are removed as these can become lodged in the wounds.

Promoting proper healing

Although pain usually subsides in a few days, it takes a few weeks for complete healing. Patients should still practice proper home care during this time.

Prevent dry sockets

As the extraction site heals, patients must avoid excessive spitting or using a straw. The motion and suction created during these activities can dislodge blood clots, leading to a painful condition known as dry sockets. This extends healing time and usually requires additional treatment. Instead, patients should drink straight from a cup and allow water to simply fall from the mouth when brushing and rinsing.

Keep the extraction site clean

On the day of surgery, a dentist will likely recommend no home care or cleaning other than changing gauze used to control bleeding. After that, rinsing daily with warm salt water can help with pain and swelling while cleaning around the incisions. Sometimes, a dentist may suggest home irrigation to flush out debris from the holes as they heal.

Watch for signs of complications

Pain, bleeding, and swelling are all normal the first day or so after surgery. However, if these side effects persist or worsen, it is important to see a dentist right away. Patients should also be watchful for signs of complications, such as fever, puss or oozing, intense pain, or numbness.


After a wisdom tooth extraction, patients should take care to follow a dentist's recommendations for dietary practices, cleaning, and pain management. Following these helpful tips can lead to a smoother recovery process.

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