Wisdom tooth removal surgery may sound scary, but it’s probably not as bad as you imagine it to be. For one, it is an outpatient surgery, which means you arrive and leave the dental clinic on the same day. You will be given local anaesthesia or sedation during the procedure too, so you won’t feel any pain while your wisdom tooth is being extracted.
Some pain and swelling after wisdom teeth removal surgery is normal, but how you adhere to aftercare instructions in the next few days after will affect the rate of your recovery and complications.
When do you get your wisdom teeth extracted?
Most patients with impacted wisdom teeth will need to get their wisdom teeth extracted. If you start experiencing symptoms like red or swollen gums, jaw pain and swelling around the jaw, it’s a sign that your wisdom tooth might be infected and need to be removed as soon as possible.
Some may not experience any pain or inconvenience from their wisdom teeth, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong. In fact, it’s better to get them removed when you are younger as the bones in your mouth grow harder as you age. This could make your teeth tougher to remove and potentially increase the risk of complications after surgery, such as heavy bleeding, fractured teeth and minor loss of movement in your jaw.
Not removing your wisdom teeth could also cause:
- Damage to other teeth
- Cysts in your mouth
- Sinus issues
- Inflamed gums
This article on when wisdom tooth removal is necessary will tell you more!
What to do after wisdom teeth surgery
Most people take about 3-4 days to recover from wisdom teeth surgery or a full week if your teeth were impacted. However, the wound site won’t be completely healed for months, so it’s important to take care of yourself to avoid an infection.
Straight after surgery, you may experience minor bleeding, but this can be controlled by biting on gauze which we will provide. We will also provide painkillers to help with the pain once the anaesthesia wears off. All pain and bleeding should be gone within a week. During this period, you should avoid:
- Drinking through a straw
- Rinsing your mouth
- Strenuous exercise
- Drinking carbonated drinks
It is important to avoid these activities as doing so may dislodge your blood clot or stitches. Dislodging your blood clot can cause increased pain and put you at risk of infection or a dry socket. Remember to rinse your mouth with salt water to keep the wound clean, but do not spit the water out! Instead, tip your mouth and allow the water to fall out gently.
Can I drink alcohol after wisdom teeth extraction?
It is best to avoid any alcoholic beverages for at least 48 hours after your wisdom teeth extraction. Drinking alcohol may interfere with the healing process; additionally, if you were prescribed a painkiller after the surgery, drinking alcohol may cause serious side effects.
You can still drink most types of flavoured beverages though — for example, milkshakes, smoothies and apple juice are all fine. Just make sure they are not carbonated and don’t drink with a straw!
Food wise, take care to consume very soft food at least for the next few days after surgery. We usually recommend patients to stick to porridge, soup, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs and even ice cream. Just make sure not to eat extremely hot food that can burn the site of your wound, or food that can get stuck in the hole where your wisdom tooth used to be, such as nuts and seeds.
How easy is it to get a dry socket after wisdom teeth extraction?
A dry socket is a condition that develops when the blood clot in an extraction site dissolves, does not form properly or dislodges shortly after the removal of a tooth. In wisdom teeth removal, dry sockets occur up to 30% of the time.
Patients with a dry socket typically experience a consistent throbbing pain which may radiate to other areas of the face, a foul odor in the mouth, and discomfort even when drinking cold water and breathing in air. Many patients try to tough it out as they think such symptoms are normal, but you should not be experiencing such discomfort days after your wisdom teeth removal.
To prevent dry sockets, it is crucial to avoid doing the activities as advised above, especially smoking. Studies show that 12% of smokers experience dry socket compared to only 4% of non-smokers.
As long as you listen to your dentist’s care instructions, you should be all good and recovered in a week.
- Abu Younis, M. H., & Abu Hantash, R. O. (2011). Dry socket: frequency, clinical picture, and risk factors in a palestinian dental teaching center. The open dentistry journal, 5, 7–12. https://doi.org/10.2174/1874210601105010007
- Cho, H., Lynham, A. J., & Hsu, E. (2017). Postoperative interventions to reduce inflammatory complications after third molar surgery: review of the current evidence. Australian dental journal, 62(4), 412–419. https://doi.org/10.1111/adj.12526