Recovery following Wisdom Tooth Removal

Most of us will need our wisdom teeth removed at some point and patients naturally have questions about what to expect after the procedure. At our Salt Lake City, UT, practice, Dr. Dustin Hopkin routinely performs oral surgery to help patients achieve and maintain healthy teeth and gums. The doctor and his team explain what to expect during your recovery from wisdom tooth removal and will also provide detailed post-operative instructions. Patients typically see side effects resolve in about two days although a full recovery can take up to several weeks. 

Tooth in forceps

What to Expect Immediately after Surgery

Wisdom tooth removal is performed as an outpatient procedure, typically under nitrous oxide or intravenous (IV) sedation. Upon waking from your surgery, you will likely have gauze packs over the extraction sites. This helps to slow bleeding and form blood clots. These should be removed after about 30 minutes. If bleeding still persists, place more gauze packs over the area and bite down with gentle, steady pressure for 15 to 30 minutes. It is normal to have slight bleeding and oozing over the first 24 to 48 hours. If you were sedated for your procedure, you must have a friend or family member drive you home from our office.

Wisdom tooth removal is a surgical procedure. Therefore, patients can expect some level of post-operative discomfort and swelling. These side effects are common, and can be successfully managed with prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers. All medication should be taken exactly as prescribed by Dr. Hopkin. Cold compresses can also be applied to the outside jaw to reduce inflammation and swelling.

You will be provided with a detailed list of post-surgical guidelines, which should be followed closely for a comfortable and successful recovery. To minimize the risk of increased bleeding, swelling, and discomfort, we urge patients to avoid strenuous exercise and activity for at least 48 hours.

Though most patients are comfortable within three or four days after wisdom tooth removal, full recovery can take several weeks.

For the first few days, we recommend sticking to a soft diet. This can include pasta, fish, mashed potatoes, yogurt, pudding, smoothies, and similar choices. Once you are comfortable, you can begin eating more solid foods. Patients should avoid drinking through straws for the first week, as this can dislodge the blood clots and lead to uncomfortable dry sockets.

The Weeks following Your Surgery

Though most patients are comfortable within three or four days after wisdom tooth removal, full recovery can take several weeks. The bone and gum tissue will continue to heal, and proper steps should be taken during this time to avoid infection and other post-treatment complications. This includes keeping the surgical areas clean and monitoring the sites for any potential problems. Contact our office immediately if you have:

  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Severe pain that does not diminish with medication
  • A fever
  • Persistent swelling that worsens after day three or four
  • Numbness

At-Home Care Instructions

The day of your surgery, go home and rest. Do not brush, rinse, or floss for the remainder of the day. The next morning, gently soak the surgical areas with an alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash or a warm saltwater solution. Do not swish vigorously. Simply allow the liquid to roll around the mouth, then gently let it drain out of the mouth. 

You can brush your teeth starting on the second day after surgery. However, it is important to use care and caution around the surgical sites. After the first week, you should be able to brush and floss normally. As always, if you have any questions about wisdom tooth removal recovery, reach out to a member of our team.

Contact Our Practice for More Information

Dr. Hopkin is a board-certified oral surgeon, and is well-equipped to treat a wide range of oral health issues. Keeping our patients safety and needs in mind, we use only the latest and most advanced dental technology, including 3-D imaging equipment. We are also proud to offer a number of financing options to help patients cover any out-of-pocket costs, including in-house payment plans and CareCredit® financing. To learn more or to schedule a visit at Hopkin Oral Surgery, call us at (801) 277-3942 or contact us online anytime.

Dustin J. Hopkin, DDS

Hopkin Oral Surgery Dustin J. Hopkin, DDS

Dr. Dustin J. Hopkin is a highly trained oral surgeon in Salt Lake City, UT. He is proud to be board-certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. At Hopkin Oral Surgery, Dr. Hopkin and his team provide excellent care with state-of-the-art technology and advanced treatment methods. Our most popular services include:

You can request a consultation with Dr. Hopkin by filling out our online form or calling (801) 277-3942.

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