Man in orange shirt holding his cheek in pain

1. Plan Ahead

It’s important to make plans for your recovery before your surgery by going through what to expect with your oral surgeon. Your dentist should also give you a list of guidelines to follow concerning the procedure, and you should consult them with any questions you may have.
Your oral surgeon will likely suggest that you schedule your surgery for when you have some days off from work or school for recovery after the procedure. You should also arrange for someone to take you home after the procedure, and stay with you if you need help with anything afterwards.

2. Keep the Surgical Area Protected

It is very important to be conscious of your recovery for the six weeks post-surgery, as this is the time period in which most infections occur. Complications may arise when patients neglect good oral hygiene practices, so listen to your dentist! It’s very important to observe proper oral care during this period of the wisdom teeth recovery time. Also, avoid unnecessary touching of the surgical area and try to prevent debris from collecting near the wound. Your oral surgeon will provide you with more specific instructions on how to avoid infection following wisdom tooth surgery.

3. Control Bleeding with Tea Bags and Gauze

Usually, after the wisdom teeth removal process, you will be given a piece of gauze to bite down on to reduce the bleeding. After about 12 hours, you can consider switching the gauze to a damp tea bag, as tea leaves are known to help reduce pain and encourage blood clotting.

4. Use Ice Packs

Swelling post-wisdom teeth removal is inevitable. Therefore, apply ice packs intermittently to the outside of your mouth as much as you can the first two days to minimize the swelling and bruising, as well as any discomfort you may feel. However, if you had a tooth infection before the procedure, your dentist may suggest using warm, moist compresses instead.

5. Rinse Your Mouth with Salt Water

Another remedy for swelling and pain can be a homemade mouth rinse made of salt and warm water. You can start using this mixture the day after the procedure is done several times a day, mostly after drinking or eating.

6. More Fluids, Less Solids

For the first 24 hours after surgery, a liquid diet is highly recommended. Be sure to drink lots of fluids to avoid dehydration. You can then switch to a soft food diet after the first day is over for up to a week. Avoid foods that require a lot of chewing. You should also avoid using a straw during this time, since it can loosen blood clots and expose the bones and nerves. This condition is known as dry socket, and is extremely painful. Also, for a cooling and relieving sensation around the areas where the removal of the wisdom teeth was done, try eating foods with a lower temperature, such as smoothies and ice cream.

7. Keep the Jaw Moving

During the wisdom teeth recovery time, it is important to keep your jaw moving with simple exercises such as slowly opening and closing your mouth. This is helpful since you are bound to feel stiffness in your mouth after surgery, so keeping your jaw moving helps to lessen this stiffness.

8. Use Medication

Whenever necessary, you can use medication to ease the pain following your surgery. Your dentist may prescribe medications and antibiotics, which will help you reduce pain and avoid infection. You can also opt for over-the-counter medications. As a precaution, avoid alcohol and driving or operating machinery when you are taking strong pain relief medication.

9. Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol

This tip is especially necessary if you are taking medication, since smoking, dipping, or chewing can delay healing by posing potential infection risks and increasing discomfort. Smoking is also another way of causing a dry socket due to the sucking motion involved. If you are a smoker, try to avoid smoking during your wisdom teeth recovery time.

10. Rest Adequately

Taking things slow following your surgery is important for achieving long-term recovery success. Try to relax as much as you can and keep your head elevated using pillows. Avoid exercising the day after the procedure, and for the week following, it is recommended to avoid strenuous exercises.

11. Follow the Instructions Given by Your Dentist

After your surgery, your dentist may give you instructions slightly different from the ones outlined here. Always follow your dentist’s exact instructions to ensure that you heal as quickly as possible.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Near You in PA

At St. Luke’s OMS, our oral surgeons are highly experienced in wisdom tooth removal and other oral surgery procedures. We will use gentle techniques and approaches to remove those pesky wisdom teeth, and provide you with ample information to ensure that your recovery goes as smoothly as possible. To learn more about the services we offer or to make an appointment at one of our four locations in Pennsylvania, please contact us today.